According to The Associated Press, environmental advocates estimate that New Yorkers use up to 23 billion plastic bags annually.
As a way to curb the displeasing source of litter, New York State lawmakers decided to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales.
The idea was given by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016.
Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, and the New York’s ban is intended to begin next March. It will forbid stores to provide customers with single-use plastic bags, as they are non-biodegradable and have disastrous effects on wildlife and the environment.
This ban is expected to be part of the state’s budget bills, and it includes exceptions, like food takeout bags used by restaurants, bags used to wrap deli or meat counter products and bags for bulk items, as well as garment bags, newspaper bags, and bags sold in bulk.
It will also contain an additional element that will allow counties to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, revenue that would go to the Environmental Protection Fund and a separate fund to purchase reusable bags for consumers.
Mr. Cuomo stated that these bags have blighted the environment and clogged our waterways, so the plan agreed to in Albany will protect our natural resources for future generations.
Sen. Todd Kaminsky said that he believes that after some time, we will be all looking back and wonder why this isn’t something that was commonplace before now. Yet, he stated that he is glad that New York will be leading the way in being one of the first states to do it.
Additionally, several other states have taken steps to outlaw other plastic products recently, and Hawaiian lawmakers have proposed a pair of bills that would take a hard-line against most plastic in the restaurant industry, while a proposal in Maryland could make the region the first in the nation to completely ban polystyrene food containers.