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Westchester Group Encourages Reusable Shopping Bags


A new program aims to reduce the use of plastic bags. 

“B.Y.O.B.” is taking on new meaning in Westchester County as an environmental group launches the “Bring Your Own Bag” program.

The Citizen’s Campaign for The Environment (CCE) and the Westchester County Board of Legislators are leading the countywide initiative, which encourages the use of reusable shopping bags over plastic. The goal is to educate the public on the importance of reusable bags, while involving local stores in the effort.  Beginning next month, public service announcements, school lessons, and presentations at community meetings will educate the public on plastic pollution, litter, and the danger plastic bags pose to aquatic animals.

Local stores are already playing a part in the campaign. Many stores have sold reusable bags for years, and over two dozen have now signed on to post signs and hand out pamphlets promoting reusable bags over plastic.  Officials say six stores have even agreed to ban the use of plastic bags.

Adrian Esposito of the CCE says the participation of both private business and Westchester County legislators is important for environmental protection. “This is a good example of the public and private partnership: to change public behavior, protect our environment. It’s where everybody wins.”  Esposito goes on to emphasize the importance of participation from the public. “The bottom line is we need the public’s help. We need the public to engage in a new practice, changing their mindset, and bring their own bags to grocery stores.”  The campaign is expected to come into full swing by mid-April.