Village passes ‘bring your own bag’ law

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On Monday, the board of trustees unanimously passed a local law to regulate the use of plastic carry-out bags, making Sea Cliff the first village in Nassau County to enact such an ordinance.

Earlier this year, the village’s Environmental Conservation Commission, chaired by Trustee Dina Epstein, worked with All Our Energy, a nonprofit environmental group, to host several screenings of the movie “Bag It” to encourage passage of legislation that would limit plastic pollution in Sea Cliff. The City of Long Beach adopted a similar ordinance last April, and since then has seen a 75 percent reduction in the use of plastic bags in its major supermarkets.

Before the meeting, residents and representatives of All Our Energy gathered in front of Village Hall to voice their support for the “bring your own bag” campaign. Lynbrook resident Susan Brockmann, who is advocating for the same statute in her home village, also attended, decked out in a dress made of 500 plastic bags, the number the average person uses in a year.

The board held a public hearing to air residents’ opinions on whether to amend village code and implement the law. “The ordinance allows merchants to impose a 5-cent fee on the customer for each plastic bag provided,” Epstein said. “A letter was sent out alerting local businesses, ex-plaining the law.” She added that dry-cleaning services, prescription items and liquor stores are exempt from the ordinance.

Residents made clear their support for the measure on Monday. Maria Steiglitz, of Sea Cliff, called the initiative “a wonderful idea” and recommended that businesses provide their customers with reusable craft and string bags. People can buy reusable bags at K. DiResta Collective.

Elaine Neice, a representative of the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, applauded the village’s support of a law that would limit plastic pollution in surrounding waterways. She explained that the coalition was working with local lawmakers to bring the initiative to more neighborhoods in the region and across the state.

Visitors from outside the village weighed in as well. Judy DiBartolo, of Glen Cove, had come to Sea Cliff to see how the ordinance was implemented and to watch a screening of “Bag It.” “I was impressed with the educational piece and hope to bring this to the City Council for consideration,” she said.

Mayor Edward Lieberman said the law woulf be enacted in the village in conjunction with Earth Day on April 22.

In other news

Girl Scout Troops 64 and 36 attended the board meeting, and proposed a community project to paint a mural at Sea Cliff Beach. The mural would stretch 50 feet along the wall of the pavilion across from the playground, and would depict a beach cleanup in progress, as the beach moved from trash-laden to pristine.

Troop leaders Kelly Arena and Allison Moss said they had been talking with local hardware stores about receiving donated materials for the project. Resident James Versocki said the girls could also solicit materials from residents. “We’d be more than happy to help,” he said.

The project was unanimously approved.