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Patchogue trustee forms group to study impact of plastic shopping bags

A plastic bag stuck on a fence on

A plastic bag stuck on a fence on Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Credit: Charles Eckert

Patchogue Village trustee Joseph Keyes has formed an environmental committee to explore the impact plastic shopping bags have on the community.

Protecting the Environment in Patchogue hasn't held its first meeting yet. It consists of six members, including Keyes, Joe Dean, who is the village superintendent of public works, and business leaders.

The first meeting, which hasn't been scheduled, is expected to discuss having village stores that carry the plastic bags in checkout lines, such as 7-Eleven and Bravo Supermarkets on South Ocean Avenue, use reusable bags instead.

"Our feet are on the ground, but we haven't started moving yet," Keyes said.

East Hampton and Southampton towns voted last month to ban the plastic bags. Those bans go into effect later this year. Town officials in Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island have also discussed banning the bags.

Environmentalists say the plastic bags litter landfills and oceans and can harm sea animals if ingested. Keyes has said he planned to introduce legislation to ban the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and restaurants in the village.

Patchogue Chamber of Commerce executive director David Kennedy said he sent out a notice to business owners to gauge their concerns about a possible ban but is still waiting to hear back.

"Personally, I think it's a great idea. We all need to be environmentally conscious and everybody wants to help the environment," Kennedy said.

Keyes said a ban on plastic bags may be an inconvenience for owners. Phone calls to Bravo Supermarkets weren't returned.

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