Published: Newsday, February 27, 2012
By Stacey Altherr
Two months after voting against holding a public hearing on a plastic bag ban, two Southampton Republican council members are ready to unveil an educational program designed to inspire residents to recycle and reuse the bags.
Christopher Nuzzi and Christine Preston Scalera said they have spoken with representatives of small and large retailers, and plan to kick off their campaign during Earth Day observances on April 22 and the town's beach cleanup.
Scalera was not on the town board when the measure was taken off the table in December, but fellow Republicans James Malone and Nancy Graboski, whose term expired at the end of 2011, also voted to put off a hearing on the ban.
“I think giving people the opportunity, with education and time, to come up with an alternative, you can be successful,” Nuzzi said.
Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst asked for the public hearing to discuss banning plastic bags, saying it was a good step in stopping the proliferation of such bags in waterways.
But not all retailers support the initiative. Thomas Cullen, who handles governmental relations for grocer King Kullen, was a vocal opponent of a plastic bag ban discussed at the Dec. 13 meeting, as was the Southampton Business Alliance.
Other components of the program include a marketing campaign about stores that will accept plastic bags for recycling. Some town supermarkets also plan to give a 5-cent-per-bag rebate to customers who bring their own bags, Scalera said.
He added that Trex, a company that makes composite materials from recycled bags, has promised to donate a bench made out of them to show residents the benefits of recycling.