New York State, including New York City, will begin its plastic-bag ban on March 1, 2020. All businesses required to collect state sales taxes, including grocery and retail stores, won’t be able to give out plastic bags beginning March 1. Certain exemptions apply to the plastic ban.

What will replace plastic bags?

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Many retailers are expected to replace plastic bags with paper bags, since the law gives stores the option to charge 5 cents for a paper bag. The expectation is that retailers will provide reusable bags to consumers and that customers will adopt regular use of reusable bags for their purchases. However, retailers will still accept plastic bags for recycling, even if they cannot offer them to customers.

What are the exemptions? 

  • restaurants that carry out or deliver food
  • bags for uncooked meat or seafood
  • bags for newspapers
  • garment bags for dry-cleaning
  • pharmacy bags for prescription drugs
  • bags used for bulk sale items

According to government information, 23 billion plastic bags are used in the state each year. Retailers found violating the plastic bag ban will receive one warning and the next violation will receive a $250 fine.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said of the ban when he signed the law, ” I have been fishing 40 miles out to sea and found plastic bags. They’re everywhere. There’s no doubt they’re doing tremendous damage. By 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the oceans than fish.”

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Single-use plastic bans are in place around the nation, including states like California and Oregon. Single-use plastic bags gum up recycling centers, like in Providence, and are harmful to marine life. However, some states have a ban on banning plastic bags, the so-called “ban on bans” law. Read more about plastic pollution in One Green Planet. And check out Delaware’s planned plastic-bag ban.

There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Maskspollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using  mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads!

To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below:

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