Some shoppers find new Suffolk bag fee a hassle

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FARMINGDALE -

Rosanne Jaronczyk says she feels like she's getting nickeled and dimed with a new five-cent fee for grocery bags in Suffolk County.

She paid an extra 15 cents at the Stew Leonard's in Farmingdale for three plastic bags to bring her groceries home.

"I know, it's nothing," she says. "It's pennies, but why can't they absorb the five cents?"

It's likely because the county Department of Health Services will fine the stores $500 for each violation of the new law following a six-month grace period.

On Jan. 1, Suffolk became the first county in the state to enact the fee in an effort to slow down plastic pollution. The idea is that the fee will encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags, which are ostensibly better for the environment.

And some shoppers are on board, like Rob Willms of Massapequa.

"I don't think it's a bad thing," he says. "It makes people be more green."

Claire Clark, who lives on the border between Nassau and Suffolk in Farmingdale, says she just has to remember which stores have the fee and which don't.

"One of the key things for us to do was to make sure we have a lot of awareness and to make sure that we did have a lot of signs out for the customer weeks before the law kicked in," says Stew Leonard's worker Cristian Cruz. "That helped with the transition a little better."

Stew Leonard's sells reusable bags for just 99 cents.

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