Fort Salonga, NY –Legislator William R. Spencer M.D. joined local businessman and philanthropist; Charlie Reichert, Executive Director of Huntington Hospital; Dr. Gerard Brogan and other health care professionals and elected officials to announce that the 5 cent fees for carry-out bags collected at the IGA supermarkets in Fort Salonga and East Northport, owned by Charlie Reichert, will be donated to the Huntington Hospital. The announcement builds on the positive effect of Suffolk County’s law to curb the consumption of single-use carry out bags. Within the first month of the law’s implementation, reports have been received that supermarket chains have seen as much as an 80% reduction in plastic bag consumption.
“The goal of this law is to reduce the bag waste that is generated by the 10 billion single-use carryout bags consumed annually in New York that typically ends up in our parks, beaches and roadways. I fully understand this has been an adjustment for shoppers, but judging by the feedback we are receiving from the stores, we are achieving that goal,” stated Legislator William R. Spencer M.D. “Now, thanks to the endless generosity of Charlie Reichert, when shoppers are in need of a bag, the proceeds collected will go toward Huntington Hospital. Knowing the great work and services that Huntington Hospital provides, I am particularity pleased by the charity Charlie has selected. I would say this is a win, win for Suffolk County residents.”
When asked what prompted him to contribute the 5 cents, Mr. Reichert stated, “We started this because we were hearing from our customers who were unhappy that the 5 cents was not going toward a local cause. That’s when I decided to donate the money raised from the bags to the hospital.”
“We’re very appreciative of this wonderful gift from Charles and Helen Reichert, who have been extraordinary supporters of Huntington Hospital and Northwell Health for many years. Rest assured, the donation will be reinvested in services that benefit the Huntington community. We applaud Legislators Trotta and Spencer's leadership on this issue," said Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health.
Prior to the implementation of the bill, efforts were coordinated involving seven school districts throughout Suffolk County and St. Joseph’s College to conduct the survey to quantify consumer habits in Suffolk County. Students surveyed 11,395 shoppers in the months of November and December. The results of the data collection revealed that 71% of shoppers use plastic. To strengthen the credibility of the law, the students plan to repeat their efforts again after the policy is in effect for a full 6 months to measure its effectiveness.
Pictured: From left to right: Executive Director of Huntington Hospital, Dr. Gerard Brogan, Legislator William R. Spencer, M.D., Charlie Reichert, Legislator Robert Trotta, Executive Director of Eastern Long Island Hospital, Linda S. Sweeney