The Impact of the Suffolk County, New York, Plastics Ban on Beach and Roadside Litter

Stella S. Ross
R. L. Swanson

DOI: 10.2190/62EL-EY9R-G9RK-F9K7


Suffolk County, Long Island, New York, beach and roadside litter surveys were conducted. Using a modified Center for Marine Conservation data card format, litter was categorized by composition: plastics, "banned" plastics, glass, rubber, paper, metal, wood, and cloth. "Banned" plastics are retail food packaging products banned under Suffolk County's Plastics Law (Local Law 10-1988), passed in 1988 (this law has since been replaced by Local Law 3-1994, which replaces the ban with language encouraging the recycling of these plastics). Percent composition by count and by weight were determined. Results are compared and contrasted with available published litter data. We conclude that the Suffolk County Plastics Law, which was intended to offer several environmental benefits, would not succeed in reducing the cumulative impact of beach and roadside litter.

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