Nearly 600 beachgoers in the Town of Southampton signed pledges last weekend promising to use fewer plastic bags, and each got a reusable bag in return.
Town officials launched the “Greener Southampton: the Solution is in the Bag” campaign on Earth Day, after efforts by some officials to ban the bags failed earlier this year. Town officials formed the Plastic Bag Education Task Force for the new effort.
Volunteers, as well as officials including task force liaison Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera, were on hand Saturday afternoon at three of the town’s beaches — Sagg Main in Sagaponack, Ponquogue in Hampton Bays and Rogers Beach in Westhampton — to sign up residents.
Hampton Jitney underwrote the cost of the 1,000 bags handed out. Volunteers with the town’s youth bureau helped fill the reusable bags with giveaways from King Kullen and Hampton Coffee Company and information on the town’s sustainability efforts, according to a news release issued by Scalera and Councilman Christopher Nuzzi.
The group’s goal is to increase the recycling rate of plastic bags by 15 percent in the first year, with a long-term goal of total reduction.
Environmentalists supported the ban, but some businesses, including King Kullen, opposed the complete ban.
Both Southampton and East Hampton villages have banned the retail use of plastic bags.