First Market in the Region to “Ban the Bag”
The Delmar Farmers Market today announced that the market will prohibit the use of plastic bags by vendors for the May 5 kick-off of its 10th season. The change affirms the market’s long time mission to promote environmental awareness, lead the way in sustainability, and serve as a responsible template for farmers markets across the state.
“In addition to offering patrons our traditional diversity of fresh locally-produced farm food and other products, we can also demonstrate that reducing dependence on plastics can be done in a meaningful and manageable way,” said market board chair Mark Warford. “As we celebrate a decade in Delmar, the time is now to show leadership on this issue and reduce the increasingly destructive impact plastic bags have on our ecosystem.”
Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said, “I applaud the Delmar Farmers Market for banning plastic bags. It is innovative, forward-thinking, and puts the health of our environment first. Being a loyal customer, I can sincerely say that for 10 years, the Farmers Market has provided the Capital Region area access to home-grown, locally-harvested foods and products. And now they are showing us all that there is a better way when it comes to plastic bag waste.”
Recognizing the cost associated with the transition, the market will provide 100 percent post-consumer, waste-recycled paper bags to market vendors for customers not already bringing their own containers — something vigorously promoted by market staff and that many market patrons have done for years.
“These bags can be recycled and even composted, so it’s a no-brainer to help our vendors establish a cost-effective way to eliminate the use of plastic at our market,” Warford said. “Plastic bags take up an enormous amount of critical space in landfills and pose a threat to the health our planet. We hope this initiative will encourage the community at-large to consider the impacts and change their own practices.”
Plastic Bag Facts
It takes 12 million barrels of oil to supply the U.S. with one year’s worth of plastic bags.
At least 95 percent of plastic bags end up in landfills, on streets or in the waterways. Very few are recycled. Those that are recycled can only be made into low quality plastic products. More than 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles are killed each year by eating or becoming tangled in plastic bags.
Dozens of countries around the world have banned or put a fee on plastic bags, and in the U.S. over 200 counties and municipalities have enacted ordinances imposing a fee on plastic bags or banning them, including all counties in Hawaii.