A series of environmental initiatives undertaken by Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi and Councilwoman Christine Scalera, including the Trex Plastic Bag Recycling Challenge, “A Greener Southampton” poster contest, community events, and the Great East End Clean-Up, culminated this past weekend with one of the Town’s STOP (Stop Throwing Out Pollutants) days.
The Town partnered with the Trex company for the second consecutive year to enlist local schools in a four-month plastic film recycling challenge. Bridgehampton School will be awarded a Trex bench made of 10,000 recycled bags for collecting the most bags per student for a total of 5,296 bags. An additional 22,147 bags were collected for recycling by students from Hampton Bays Middle School, Remsenberg-Speonk Elementary, Pierson Middle/High School, Our Lady of the Hamptons, and Southampton Elementary School.
“Since the formation of the Plastic Bag Education Task Force last year, tens of thousands of plastic bags have been recycled as a result of our educational and outreach efforts,” Scalera said. “We’re currently planning several more events, and look forward to further enhancing our goal of eliminating single-use plastic bags from our environment and landfills.”
A poster contest was held in conjunction with the Trex challenge, both part of Scalera and Nuzzi’s “A Greener Southampton—the Solution is in the Bag” initiative. Students who submitted posters were recognized by the council members at community events on April 20 at King Kullen in Bridgehampton and Stop & Shop in Hampton Bays. Reusable grocery bags were given to shoppers who took the “Greener Southampton” pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle single-use plastic bags.
The Great East End Clean-Up also took place throughout Southampton Town during Earth Day weekend. Approximately 640 volunteers removed 55.5 tons of litter and debris, including .5 tons of metal that was sorted for recycling, from beaches, parks, trails, and roadsides. “We’re very fortunate to have so many people in our community who are not only willing, but enthusiastic about devoting their time to care for the health and beauty of our surroundings,” said Nuzzi, who has led the annual event for the past eight years. He pointed out that many of the items found at the beaches, like straws, bottle caps and fishing lines, can affect marine life that accidentally swallow or become entangled in them, and that the clearing of debris helps remove potential habitats for vectors such as mosquitoes. “The event raises awareness about our environment, unites the community, and really does make a difference in the cleanliness and appearance of our town,” Nuzzi said.
Rounding out a month of green events, residents were able to safely and properly dispose of household hazardous waste items during a STOP day at the North Sea Transfer Station this past Saturday. On designated STOP days residents may bring in items such as rechargeable batteries, old lawnmower gasoline, pool chemicals, fluorescent bulbs, and other household hazardous waste items. Four STOP days are held annually, one at each of the Town’s transfer stations. The next one is scheduled to take place at the Westhampton Transfer Station on June 29.