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Southampton Village's plastic-bag ban lauded at environmental awards

Southampton Village Hall is pictured on May 24,

Southampton Village Hall is pictured on May 24, 2012. Credit: Erin Geismar

Southampton Village’s two-year-old ban on plastic bags was honored by the state Department of Environmental Conservation Tuesday during the 10th annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards.

The ban, passed by the village in 2011, prohibits single-use plastic grocery-sized shopping bags. “The village’s ordinance has achieved a 98 percent compliance rate by retailers, restaurants and stores and eliminates an estimated 110,000 shopping bags a year,” the state said in a news release.

Southampton Village passed the bag ban in April 2011 at the urging of the volunteer group Southampton Advocates for the Village Environment, or SAVE.

Eight projects across New York State were honored by the state agency at a ceremony in Schenectady.

Peter Constantakes, spokesman for the DEC, said in an interview, “These awards recognize innovative projects that we hope others will emulate. We continue to promote and recognize ideas that will better protect our environment.”

When Southampton Village passed a law in April 2011, it banned most common types of plastic bags. It was the first law of its kind in the state. Plastic bags of a heavier weight are exempt, as are the plastic bags used in groceries on the fruit and vegetable aisles.

A similar plastic bag ban in the larger Southampton Town failed.

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