SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY—Sustainable Saratoga’s Bring Your Own Bag (BYOBag) Saratoga initiative has launched a petition drive encouraging Saratoga Springs residents and businesses to support its campaign to ban thin film, plastic check-out bags at area stores. Hundreds of U.S. towns and cities have banned or taken steps to decrease the use of disposable plastic bags, and BYOBag wants to add Saratoga Springs to that growing list.

With the support of Saratoga Springs Mayor Joanne Yepsen, the BYOBag initiative will present the signed petitions to the City Council this fall with the goal of passing an ordinance banning the plastic bags. The petition is available for signing at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on alternate Saturdays as well as online at BYOBag volunteers will also canvas businesses and neighborhoods this summer in search of signatures.

“Carry a reusable bag and say ‘no thank you’ when a plastic bag is offered,” urges Margie Shepard, BYOBag co-chair. “If you care about our environment and our beautiful town, please sign our petition to ban plastic check-out bags in Saratoga Springs. We would love to make Saratoga a model city where waste reduction and recycling are common practice.” As an alternative to plastic, BYOBag Saratoga is selling spacious canvas bags with their logo at the Farmers’ Market for $10.

Americans use and toss away more than 100 billion plastic bags a year. Laid end to end, they would circle the earth 1,330 times. Plastics contain toxic chemicals from the manufacturing process, and soak up more pollutants in the environment. This toxic-laden plastic is then ingested by animals and marine life, moving its way into our food chain. Plastic comprises about 90 percent of all the trash floating in our oceans and has been tied to human health concerns, including reproductive problems, hormone disruption, and some cancers. In addition, plastic bags litter our landscapes, clog sewers and streams, and accumulate in landfills.

Plastic bags are manufactured from natural gas and petroleum, both finite and problematic fossil fuels, the extraction of which causes enormous environmental and social burdens around the world.

Recycling is not a viable solution to the problems of plastic bag waste and production. Only 5 to 15% of plastic bags are recycled, and those that are can only be recycled once. A better solution is to replace single-use plastic bags with reusable bags. Shopping with reusable bags significantly reduces the problems and costs associated with production and disposal of plastic waste.

About Sustainable Saratoga

Sustainable Saratoga is a not-for-profit organization that promotes sustainable practices and the protection of natural resources, through education, advocacy and action, for the benefit of current and future generations in the Saratoga Springs area. Bring Your Own Bag (BYOBag) Saratoga is an initiative to change retailer and consumer dependence on single-use, thin film plastic shopping bags in Saratoga Springs. To learn more about BYOBag Saratoga or to support the campaign with a donation, please visit


Margie Shepard
BYOBag Co-Chair