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Patchogue trustee discusses banning the use of plastic checkout bags in the village

Patchogue Village could be following the East End towns by proposing a ban on plastic checkout bags because they are bad for the environment.

Trustee Joseph Keyes brought up the subject to fellow trustees during Monday night's board meeting. He said after the meeting that he is considering sponsoring legislation that would ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and restaurants.

"It's a benefit to everyone all around if we can spread this," Keyes said. "We can get other townships onboard and little by little we can start growing this thing so that sooner or later we'll have a real impact."

Should all of LI follow the wishes of East End municipalities and ban single-use plastic bags?

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He said he will reach out to East End towns proposing similar bans on plastic bags this week to learn more about how their legislation would work.

Southampton and East Hampton have set public hearings to discuss the issue, while Riverhead, Shelter Island and Southold towns are considering banning plastic checkout bags.

Environmentalists say the plastic bags litter landfills and oceans and can harm sea animals if ingested. Keyes said he previously considered banning Styrofoam and plastic bags, but didn't.

"It's a good idea, I'm all for it," he said.

Keyes may have support on the village board.

Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri said he would give banning plastic bags a close look if a resolution is brought forth.

"I'm a fisherman; I know what's out there," he said of the threat plastic bags pose to various sea creatures such as turtles. "I would strongly consider supporting it. I can see the negative impacts."

Pontieri said opposition to such a ban could come from local businesses whose customers use the bags.

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