New York will soon become the second state in the country to ban plastic bags. Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with state legislators, expect to put the ban into place next March as a part of New York’s 2020 budget deal. The budget deal, agreed to on Sunday, makes New York the second state to ban single use plastic bags. California was the first to do so in 2014. Hawaii also has some local laws which ban plastic bags throughout parts of the state.
According to State Senator Todd Kaminsky of the Democratic Party, this ban has been a long time coming.
When asked about the proposal in legislation, he said that billions of bags are “thrown away after just one use,” and that the average usage time of a plastic bag is “about 12 minutes”. The wastefulness is a “craze” which is “adding up”, Kaminsky said.
While the law will eliminate most single use plastic bags, there will still be some exceptions. Dry cleaning, bags for fruits and vegetables, and carryout bags will be exempt from the ban. Additionally, individual counties and some cities will be eligible to opt-in to a 5-cent per bag fee.
While most would say a single use plastic bag is largely wasteful, New Yorkers have some mixed opinions on the change. Many New Yorkers are in favor of the ban, supporting the use of reusable bags instead. Environmental organizations have long supported the ban, too, aiming to cut down on plastic pollution. The trend has seen a rise in the last year, as many restaurants and stores in NYC banned plastic straws too.
However, other New Yorkers are skeptic to ban the bag. In small NYC apartments, a plastic bag may save kitchen space. According to bagtheban.com, the ban will have a negative impact on low and fixed-income families.
To bag, or not to bag, that seems to be the question.Join the Upper West Side newsletter!