FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 28, 2012
CONTACT: Councilwoman Christine P. Scalera
PHONE: (631) 287-5745
Town Believes ‘The Solution is in the Bag’
Task Force Campaigns to Reduce Plastic Bag Use
With the onset of spring, Southampton Town officials announced today a campaign to renew local commitment to the environment.
“Priority number one is reducing plastic bag use and increasing their recycling rate,” said Councilwoman Christine Preston Scalera. “Our goal is to increase the number of recycled plastic bags by 15 percent in one year.”
Set to begin Earth Day weekend, the Town’s newly-created Plastic Bag Education Task Force, will officially start the “A Greener Southampton: the Solution is in the Bag” campaign on Saturday, April 21. As part of this undertaking, the task force will hold events at King Kullen in Bridgehampton (9:30-11:30am) and Stop & Shop in Hampton Bays (12:00-2:00pm). During the designated hours, shoppers and merchants can sign a pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle their plastic bags. Each store will sponsor activities for children, free giveaways, and provide shoppers with a free reusable tote bag for every purchase of $10 or more. Customers will also receive a nickel off their total for each reusable bag they bring in the future.
The weekend will also highlight the “Plastic Bag Challenge,” a competition between local schools, which have also been active in the initiative. The contest is the product of a partnership with Trex Company, the nation’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing products. Between now and the end of April, the school collecting the most plastic bags will win a Trex bench made of the recycled bags. Participating districts will also have students create a poster for the campaign, choosing at least one to be featured at Town Hall and the kickoff events.
Councilman Chris Nuzzi, who co-chairs the task force with Scalera, added that such efforts prove “Success can be achieved by working with local businesses, whose contributions to date have been commendable.” The Town Board’s liaison to Waste Management, Nuzzi also noted the task force includes local merchants and business groups, as well as the Town’s Green Committee, Sustainability Coordinator, Waste Management Department, and Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
As part of their participation in the task force, each stakeholder has assumed unique responsibilities as they relate to the “Solution is in the Bag” effort. Among them are establishing evaluative criteria, educational outreach, engaging retailers to develop incentive plans, marketing and promotions, and collecting data to gauge the success of the program.
Scalera said the educational efforts and targeted incentives by retail participants are the primary objectives for the first year. Chief among them are the “bring your own bag” pledge, which can be signed online at www.southamptontowny.gov. Participating merchants will encourage the use of reusable bags through signs and promotion pieces, display “A Greener Southampton” decal in their front windows, act as repositories for plastic bags, and agree to be featured on the Town’s website. Individuals, in turn, take the pledge to recycle more and make greater use of reusable bags.
“Providing the public with both more options and more information can encourage voluntary reduction habits,” said the councilwoman. “We are looking to decrease the use of plastic bags and increase recycling such that there is ultimately a one hundred percent reduction of single use plastic bags in our environment and landfills.”
To measure its progress, the task force established a baseline for the time period between February 2011 through February 2012. All participants will provide data, but the first sets will come from the Great East End Clean-up, scheduled for the same weekend as the “Solution is in the Bag” kickoff events. At the end of the first year, if the initial targets are met, new ones will be established, with a possible eye toward achieving the main reduction/recycling goals more rapidly.
For more information, or to register for the Great East End Clean-up or other events, please visit www.southamptontowny.gov or call (631) 287-5745.
Saturday & Sunday, April 21 & 22, 2012 -
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