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Patchogue to give reusable bags as plastic-bag ban nears

Patchogue officials will give each resident a reusable shopping bag as the village prepares for the ban on single-use plastic and nonrecyclable paper bags to go into effect.

The village board announced its reusable bag initiative at Monday night’s meeting, and trustees said the use of the bags would be promoted on the village website.

The law, which goes into effect Sept. 6, was adopted last June in a 4-2 decision as many municipalities across Long island debated the impact of plastic bags on the environment.

“Hopefully that gets residents into the mindset of becoming less dependent on plastic and paper,” said trustee Joseph Keyes of the effort to give each resident a reusable bag.

No single-use plastic bags will be allowed at village businesses other than small bags used for produce and plastic bags for prescription medicine, live animals such as fish and bait, and merchandise that would contaminate other food.

All paper bags must be made of at least 40 percent recyclable material. Southampton and East Hampton towns have approved similar restrictions.

“Single-use plastic bags are a blight on the environment. It’s a great thing that Patchogue is taking a step forward. It’s about changing habits and its going to go a long way,” said trustee Lori Devlin.

U.S. retailers spend $4 billion annually on disposable bags and plastic pollution impacts hundreds of species of marine line, village officials have said.

Environmentalists say marine species die because they eat or become entangled in the bags, which also clog storm drains and aren’t biodegradable.

Residents can pick up the sturdy blue bags at Village Hall on Aug. 2, 9, 16 and 23 between 4 and 8 p.m. with picture identification and proof of residency.

Keyes said the ban was the right thing to do.

“Yes, it’s going to work,” the trustee said. “I expect the first two months to be tough.”

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