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Source: The Long Island Advance

Hoping Village Residents Will Tote It

BY LINDA LEUZZI

Posted: February 20, 2015
Originally Published: February 18, 2015

Group holds reusable bags.

Photo By ADV/Leuzzi: The Protecting the Environment in Patchogue Committee hold up their canvas totes. The committee gathered on Tuesday to set an agenda for a public forum to discuss banning single-use bags. They are (left to right): David Reese, Adrienne Esposito, Emily Gatti, Dave Kennedy, Jordan Christensen, Joe Keyes, Patti Seal, Don Wachsmith and Dr. Kirk Lawrence.

The Protecting the Environment in Patchogue Committee set the agenda this week for a public forum on March 18 at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. to discuss a ban on single-use plastic bags. “It’s single-use plastic bags we’re looking to ban,” said Patchogue Village Trustee Joe Keyes. “It doesn’t include the bags you weigh your food in, but it does include the bags in which you carry your groceries home.”

Keyes announced investigating the environmental possibility at the Oct. 27, 2014 village board meeting.

“I read an article several months back about the ban in Southampton and I mentioned it to the board and it generated interest,” he said. “Knowing it passed at the east end of the island, we’re at the center and we’re hoping it will spread to the other villages.”

Southampton and East Hampton towns banned single-use plastic bags on the same day in December; Southampton Village and East Hampton Village already had the ban in effect for two years.

The hope is that people will opt for reusable canvas bags they can keep in their cars, or the string bags commonly used in Europe.

Southampton Town spokesperson Jennifer Garvey said their town ban is not effective until April 22, Earth Day. “I can’t say we’ve established someone who will go to every store to check that they comply, but we do have advocates,” she said. “We’re doing an outreach so businesses know about the ban. We did reach out to the folks in Patchogue and will make our legislation available to those who want to see it.”

Keyes confirmed that Southampton officials have forwarded their legislation. “I can read it into the public hearing on April 27,” he said. He’s hoping a Southampton official will attend the March 18 forum.

Keyes said if legislation is passed in April, there would be a six-month transition period. “It wouldn’t be in effect until Nov. 1,” he said.

While the Greater Patchogue Chamber has been supportive, Keyes said they have been taking small businesses like Bravo, the supermarket on South Ocean Avenue owned by Jose Bonilla, into consideration.

“We just met with Jose yesterday and he wants to support it, but is concerned that there are supermarkets outside the boundaries that wouldn’t be affected and his customers might go elsewhere,” said Greater Patchogue Chamber executive director, David Kennedy, who is the chamber liaison. “I think Jose is willing to adjust if it gets that far,” he said. “I sent an informal notice to chamber members and well over 90 percent were supportive.”

Kennedy said he was still waiting to see the legislation before supporting it totally. “From the village perspective, hopefully other villages and towns will follow,” he said.

Committee members include village residents as well as Citizens Campaign for the Environment executive director Adrienne Esposito, several Patchogue Village employees including village clerk Patti Seal, who is co-chairing the committee, and Dr. Kirk Lawrence, associate professor of sociology, who teaches social sciences at St. Joseph’s College.