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Communities campaign against plastic bags


The next time you are in Huntington, Northport Village or Port Jefferson, officials want you to B.Y.O.B.

As in: bring your own bag.

The Citizens Campaign for the Environment on Thursday kicked off a campaign in the three communities to help protect local waters by encouraging business owners and shoppers to rely on reusable bags and drop the plastic bag habit.

"A reusable bag is sustainable, it's clean, it makes sense and it's easy," said Adrienne Esposito, the group's executive director.

Esposito said the group picked the three communities because of their proximity to Long Island Sound.

Citizens campaign, with 80,000 members and offices in New York and Connecticut, will recruit businesses to put up signs encouraging sustainable bag use and to ask their cashiers to remind customers to use reusable bags. It's all part of an effort to change the habits of the nearly 60 percent of shoppers who do not regularly use reusable bags, Esposito said.

The kickoff announcement was held at Huntington Town Hall where Esposito and other members of her group were joined by Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport), town Supervisor Frank Petrone, town board member Mark Mayoka and Northport Village trustee Henry Tobin. All praised the effort as something government and residents could be proud of.

"It's hard to change habits," Spencer said. "But if we all do this together no one has to be greatly inconvenienced and we can make such a significant impact for our environment and for our businesses." Tobin pointed out that for a business, a bag with a company logo is a great advertising tool.

"People don't often think of, as a source of pollution, plastic bags and other objects you can actually see and feel and control, that also affect the environment and kill aquatic animals, hurt the ecosystem and make it less pleasant for people who are using the water," Tobin said.