Governor Cuomo introduces legislation to ban single-use plastic bags in New York
(WHAM) - Governor Andrew Cuomo has introduced a program bill that would ban all single-use plastic bags any any point of sale in New York State.
The proposed legislation follows the release of the New York State Plastic Bags Task Force report in January, which outlined the environmental impact of plastic bags, single-use bag reduction measures, and proposed actions that the state could take to reduce pollution and protect New York's natural resources, including a ban on single-use plastic bags.
The bill would also provide the Department of Environmental Conservation with exclusive jurisdiction over all matters related to plastic bags and film plastic recycling.
The bill exempts garment bags, trash bags and any bags used to wrap or contain certain foods, such as fruits and sliced meats.
It would go into effect on January 1, 2019.
Mohammad Subeh of Angelo's Grocery and Deli says almost everyone who shops at his store takes a bag with them.
"In the long run, it will give us a hard time for at least a few months," he said, "until people get used to it."
"How else do you expect somebody to carry their groceries from the store all the way home?" asked Parrish Thomas. He added, "Why can't you just provide those biodegradable bags at the store?"
The EPA estimates New Yorkers use 23 billion plastic bags a year - something the Abundance Co-Op is trying to reduce.
"Our whole stance is, we are pro-community and pro-helping-the-planet," said Payton Marovich of Abundance Cooperative Market.
Since 2010, customers who shop there pay five cents per plastic bag and 10 cents for paper bags. They get a five cent discount per reusable bag they bring for their groceries.
"I would love to see less plastic bags," said Denise Lippa.
In addition to the legislation, the state will undertake an education and outreach campaign to increase consumer awareness of single-use bags and their harmful impact on the environment.
Education efforts will also seek to educate consumers of the impact plastic bags have on the environment and the waste stream, and promote use of reusable bags.