New York State, Advocates Hope Public Will Help Enforce Plastic Bag Ban

Darnell Taylor
October 22, 2020

Now that NY state has begun enforcement of its plastic bag ban, after an unsuccessful lawsuit by the plastics industry, the state's environmental agency and an advocacy group want to know whether stores are complying. New York's bag ban imposed new restrictions requiring businesses that collect sales tax, including grocery stores, to stop using thin plastic bags.

Customers may bring with them reusable bags or pay for a paper bag.

The Department of Environmental Conservation was forced to delay the enforcement of the law until Monday as the state fought a lawsuit brought about by a plastic bag manufacturer and convenience store owners that were opposed to the new legislation.

Any business caught handing out the banned plastic bags will face a fine.

The state's DEC is also asking for the public's help, to tell them, on its website, if they witness stores violating the law. The only exception will be for takeout orders and bags used to wrap meat or prepared food.

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"New York's bag ban has already improved New York's health by cutting down on plastic pollution".

Paper bags will still be allowed, but retailers will have the option to enforce a 5-cent fee for the use of these bags, WNBC, an NBC affiliate out of New York City, reported.

The DEC hopes the law will protect the environment and local communities in a state where over 23 billion plastic bags are used a year.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, New Yorkers use 23 billion plastic bags each year for about 12 minutes, and a lot of them end up in a landfill.

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