A ban on plastic shopping bags in Madison County was the focus of a public meeting on Tuesday, where around 30 people signed up to speak, divided on whether or not the ban should go through.

If the ban on plastic bags is approved, consumers would have the choice to use a reusable bag or a paper bag. While some say the ban is good for the environment, representatives from supermarket and convenient store chains in Madison County say it would hurt businesses financially and that it wouldn’t solve the problem which they believe is consumer habits.

“Customers don’t like them. Less than one percent of customers ask for paper bags because they rip easily. For grocers they’re a problem because they cost a lot more,” said Michael Rosen, of the Food Industry Alliance of NYS, Inc.

“It’s critical that we don’t solve the plastic bag problem by exasperating the other problem of paper bag pollution. That is why we suggest and urge you guys to implement a fee on paper in addition to the ban on plastic bags. The goal is not to get residents to switch from plastic to paper, it’s to switch from disposable to reusable bags,” said Hanna Ring of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. 

At this time, Madison County Board of Supervisors Chair John Becker says he believes supervisors are split on how they may vote on the ban.

The next public hearing is set for June 13 at 2:15 p.m. A vote on the ban is also scheduled for that day.