MARGATE — The first day of the city's Bag It Forward reusable bag program was Wednesday, May 29

Local retailers and other businesses received the bags as part of a new program from the Margate Business Association in cooperation with the city and business association members. The reuseable, recyclable cloth shopping bags will be offered to Margate shoppers free of charge. The only provision is patrons either re-use them themselves or "bag it forward" and give one to a friend. Bags will also be given out, while supplies last, during the summer Thrilling Thursday Moonlight Movies and at Beachstock The Planet’s Biggest Beach Party on June 29.

In an effort to step up the level of the business community’s stewardship of the city and the waters surrounding it, participating merchants will distribute up to 20,000 of the re-useable, recyclable fabric shopping bags, which could potentially replace over 100,000 single-use plastic bags.

Mayor Michael Becker was on hand for the distribution process.

“This outstanding program is another great step towards the elimination of plastic bag use,” Becker said.

"Bag It Forward provides a green alternative that does not cost either the shopper or the businesses any additional money, without the need for local legislation," said Ed Berger, president of the MBA.

“Wawa on Washington Avenue will be producing and distributing 5,000 of the Bag It Forward bags as well, rolling out in mid-June, and we are thrilled they have joined us," he added.

Volunteers and MBA staff met at the Colmar Home Center and The UPS Store warehouse on Essex Avenue to sort, load trucks and cars and distribute to local retailers and businesses.

MBA board member and owner of Colmar Home Center and The UPS Store Michael Collins said, “We are happy and proud to be a part of the MBA and this program to eliminate plastic bags from our city, our beaches and our waters.”

The introductory program's primary sponsors include Dr. Joseph Berretone, Down Beach Dental; Tomatoe’s restaurant; Colmar Hardware; and Wawa. Also sponsoring are Sunny Sunoco, Two Cents Plain, Margate Dairy Bar and Burger, Hot Bagels, Kidrageous, Playgroups Plus, Hot Bagels & More, Dinos Subs & Pizza and Maynards Cafe & Starlite Garden. Additional underwriters will be added as the program gains momentum so the MBA can continue distribution indefinitely as more members renew and join in.

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