Tompkins County Passes Fee For Carryout Paper Bags

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – The Tompkins County legislature has passed a law requiring a five cent fee on carryout paper bagsThe law is intended to incentivize people to use reusable bags more often and reduce landfill waste.

The Tompkins fee on paper bags goes along with a New York state ban on single-use plastic bags. Both laws will go into effect on March 1, 2020.

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

WIC helps pregnant, breastfeeding and post-partum women, plus infants and children younger than five. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The fee will not apply to people using SNAP or WIC. SNAP is a federal food assistance program. WIC is federal assistance for mothers and young children. Paper bags used for medicine or bulk food items will be exempt from the fee. 

Revenues from the fee will go to a state environmental conservation fund. Forty percent will be returned to Tompkins County to buy and distribute reusable bags, with priority given to low- and fixed-income residents.