Protecting the Environment in Patchogue
Protecting the Environment in Patchogue (PEP) Committee
Serving under the direction of the Village of Patchogue Board of Trustees, Protecting the Environment in Patchogue (PEP) advocates on behalf of the community to protect one of Patchogue’s most valuable resources – our environment. Through the leadership of the PEP committee recommendations for legislation, sustainable local programs, and education and awareness of everyday sustainable practices are developed to engage the community on greener choices. These initiatives provide a path to an improved and sustainable natural environment for the Village of Patchogue.
PEP, an all-volunteer organization, advocates on behalf of the community to protect one of Patchogue’s most valuable resources – the environment. Through the leadership of the PEP committee, recommendations for legislation, sustainable local programs, and education and awareness of everyday sustainable practices are developed to engage the community on greener choices. These initiatives provide a path to an improved and sustainable natural environment for the Village of Patchogue.
PEP was established in 2015 and has been integral in influencing the Village government to adopt environmental policies, including a ban of single-use plastic bags, a ban on the use of Styrofoam food containers, installation of recycling bins in village parks, and implementing a Green Business Program which helps Patchogue businesses use sustainable products.
PEP offers community cleanups throughout the year and regularly partners with local groups and agencies. The annual Patchogue River Cleanup is the largest cleanup event in Patchogue, drawing up to 200 volunteers who set out on foot and by water to collect garbage from the community streets, parks, and waterways. Volunteers successfully collect hundreds of pounds of trash from the streets and the Patchogue River every year.
PEP focuses on four environmental initiatives and each includes volunteer opportunities/events and educational programming.
- Watershed Protection and Nitrogen Reduction – encouraging best practices for stormwater and pollution management in a coastal environment.
- Trees, Bees and Seeds – using native plants and supporting native ecosystems.
- Green Infrastructure and Energy – encouraging the use of sustainable energy, like solar power, for village and residential properties.
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – promoting best practices to reduce waste, especially single-use plastics and food waste.
What We’ve Done
Plastic Bag Ban
The plastic bag ban was passed to improve the environment in the Village by encouraging the use of reusable bags at retail establishments. Nonbiodegradable plastic bags are often discarded into the environment where they pollute our waterways, clog sewers, endanger marine life and cause unsightly litter. These bags last hundreds of years in landfills and are a potential source of harmful chemicals when they degrade and break down.
Polystyrene foam, commonly referred to as "styrofoam," is a petroleum-based plastic made from the styrene monomer. Styrene has been identified as a potential human carcinogen and is used in a number of common food container products. The substance has historically been difficult and costly to recycle and poorly biodegradable. Most of the polystyrene foam that ends up in landfills will be there 500 years from now. Polystyrene foam can also be yen toxic when burned. It is often found among common litter in the Village or in landfills throughout the region. Because of the nature and ubiquity of polystyrene foam, it can threaten animal and human health. It is for these reasons that the Village of Patchogue seeks to ban the use of certain polystyrene items.
Village of Patchogue Green Business Program
The Village of Patchogue Green Business program is a voluntary program for all businesses within the village. The program is designed to showcase our environmentally friendly businesses for becoming sustainable leaders. For more information visit:
Conducted a microplastics study of the Great Patchogue Lake, Patchogue River, and Great South Bay in partnership with the EPA and St. Joseph’s University. PEP continues to support St. Joseph’s University on microplastic research in bivalve populations.
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