On March 1, 2020 New York state will officially implement a ban on single-use plastic bags. In New York state, 23 billion plastic bags are used every year. This new ban will help limit the use of single use plastic bags and incentive consumers to opt for reusable bags instead. So, what exactly does this ban entail?
How The Plastic Bag Ban Works
The Plastic Bag ban goes into effect on March 1st and is specifically targeting single-use plastic bags for carry-out items. Grocery stores, convenience stores and clothing stores will no longer be able to provide a plastic bag with their merchandise, and instead must use a paper bag. Some counties and municipalities will charge a 5¢ fee for every paper bag they provide a customer. New York City will implement the 5¢ per bag fee. This fee does not apply to low-income consumers who are recipients of government food subsidies like SNAP or Wic. Consumers can avoid the fee by bringing their own bag to the store or carrying their purchases without a bag. If stores don’t comply with the ban they will be fined. The money from the fee will go to the EPA and to each local county or municipality to help pay for the distribution of reusable bags.
Are All Plastic Bags Banned?
No. There are several exceptions to the plastic bag ban where plastic bags will continue to be provided to customers with no cost. The following bags will still be allowed:
- Plastic bags for deli meat, poultry and fish
- Plastic bags for made-to-order food items
- Newspaper bags
- Trash bags
- Garment bags (dry cleaning)
- Plastic bags for certain pharmacy orders
- Plastic bags for take-out food orders
Plastic Bag Bans Around The World
New York State is the 8th state-wide ban to go into effect in the U.S., the first of which was California with banned single-use plastic bags in 2015. In addition to the state-wide bans, cities across the U.S. have implemented bag bans at the local level.
Globally, between 500 million and 1.5 trillion plastic bags are used every year. The thin plastic bags aren’t recyclable. Bag bans started abroad, with entire countries vowing to eliminate and phase out single-use plastic bags. Over 90 countries have banned single-use plastic bags around the world, from Panama to New Zealand! Plastic bag bans are effective at reducing plastic pollution, but in order for plastic bag bans to be effective in limiting the overall environmental impact of bags, a few things have to be done.
How To Make the Most Out Of Plastic Bag Bans
Plastic bag bans are effective at reducing plastic pollution. However, if consumers replace single-use plastic bags with single-use paper bags, there can be a negative environmental impact for the manufacture of paper bags. Paper bags are recyclable, but to make them trees are cut down, which isn’t great for the environment. The best way to ensure the bag ban is having a positive impact on the environment? Use a reusable bag. Looking for some ideas for great reusable bags? We’ve got you covered. Baggu bags, and BagPodz bags make it easy to remember your reusable tote. These bags fold up to a small size and can easily fit in your everyday bag. Canvas tote bags are great for carrying groceries, as they are sturdy and can hold a lot of weight. Whatever you choose, just make sure to reuse!