Southampton Advocates for the Village Environment, known as SAVE, is a small, volunteer committee that promoted the legislation prohibiting the use of plastic bags in the village, the first municipal program to prohibit single-use, plastic, grocery-sized shopping bags.
The celebration was held on Tuesday at Price Chopper's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design-gold certified headquarters in Schenectady.
"The Village of Southampton has set an example for municipalities and businesses across New York," the DEC said in a statement. "Through a successful campaign that enlisted support from retailers and the entire village community, the village's ordinance has achieved a 98 percent compliance rate by retailers, restaurants and stores, which translates into the elimination of at least 110,000 plastic shopping bags annually. The streets and beaches of the Village of Southampton are no longer littered with plastic bags, and the quality of the local marine waters has improved significantly."
DEC Commissioner Joe Martens presented the awards in recognition of each organization's programs and commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic viability.
"Not only are we recognizing eight outstanding organizations during this milestone event, but we are honoring the collective accomplishments of 52 winners that have been awarded since 2004," Martens said. "These inspiring success stories have created a greater awareness of environmental sustainability and have contributed to a stronger economy through cost-effective innovations."
The winners also included the first commercial-scale urban, roof-top greenhouse; a small and unique environmental education center empowering students to be future environmental leaders; and a statewide post-flood emergency stream intervention program.