What to Know
- New York introduced a bill that would ban all single-use, plastic carryout bags at any point of sale in the state
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Monday
- The new bill would provide the Department of Environmental Conservation with exclusive jurisdiction over all matters related to the bags
New York introduced a bill that would ban all single-use, plastic carryout bags at any point of sale in the state.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement Monday.
"The blight of plastic bags takes a devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources, and we need to take action to protect our environment," Cuomo said in a statement.
The new program bill would also provide the Department of Environmental Conservation with exclusive jurisdiction over all matters related to plastic bags and film plastic recycling.
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The bill would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, but will exempt garment bags, trash bags and any bags used to wrap or contain certain foods, such as fruits and sliced meats.
The program bill comes after the New York State Plastic Bags Task Force report was released in January. The report outlined the environmental impact of plastic bags and single-use bag reductions. It also proposed actions that the state could take to reduce pollution and protect the state’s natural resources.
The Plastic Bags Task Force was created in 2017 by Cuomo to study and develop a solution to use and dispose of plastic bags and how to stop the negative impact these bags have on the environment.
“Plastic pollution has become a serious threat to our lakes, rivers and marine environment as well as public health," Adrienne Esposito, executive director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in a statement, adding that “giving up plastic bags and using reusable bags is one easy, reasonable step each member of the public can take to help combat the plastic pollution epidemic.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 80 percent of plastic pollution in the ocean originated on land.
New York residents use 23 billion plastic bags annually, which contributes to this pollution, state officials say. These bags do not biodegrade and they persist for years.
New York City alone estimates a savings of $12.5 million in disposal costs by reducing the number of single-use plastic bags.
Currently, 10 cities, towns, and villages in the state of New York have enacted plastic bag bans. One municipality has a plastic bag ban with a fee on single-use paper bags and bags that qualify as reusable, including 2.25 million flexible plastic bags, according to state officials.
The City of Long Beach has a single-use plastic bag fee in place and Suffolk County's single-use plastic bag fee took effect on Jan. 1.