Come and get ’em! To prepare for NYC’s impending five-cent plastic bag surcharge, local officials are showing their support by giving away free reusable bags around the city. Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilman Mark Levine were on hand last week at Manhattan’s Montefiore Square Park giving away bright green eco-bags to spread the word about the new initiative, which aims to reduce plastic bag use across the city. But if you missed that giveaway, the council members plan to host several more in the upcoming weeks.

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The new law, which will impose a five-cent surcharge on plastic bags starting October 1, 2016, was passed by the City Council in May. Although the initiative was met with some criticism calling it an unfair burden for struggling New Yorkers, sustainable minds prevailed in the end. Backed by Mayor de Blasio, the new legislation is part of a major effort to reduce the staggering nine billion plastic bags that end up in New York landfills every year.

Related: NYC adopts controversial 5-cent plastic bag fee to support city’s zero waste goal

“These reusable bag giveaways will provide residents with sustainable, eco-friendly bag options and encourage us all to think twice before reaching for a plastic bag we don’t need,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement announcing the bag giveaways.

The next giveaways are scheduled for:

  • June 17 at Riverdale Senior Services in the Bronx, at 11:00 a.m.
  • June 19 at La Marqueta marketplace on Park Avenue, at 12:00 a.m.
  • June 25 at the Boricua Festival in Brooklyn, at 12:00 a.m.

Via NY Daily News

Images via Mark Levine Twitter