Consumers have had the option of getting their groceries in resuable grocery bags for some time now, but sadly, plastic bags still reign supreme. A lot of folks are just forgetful, and buy the reusable bags but keep forgetting to bring them along when they go out.
Residents of New York state may not be able to use that excuse for long, however: New York State is officially banning plastic bags, and some counties will impose a fee on paper bags too.
New York is the second U.S. state to ban plastic bags after California.
Governor Andrew Cuomo first proposed the plan last year, and it goes into effect in March 2020. Goodbye, single-use plastic bags! Mostly, anyway. Some types of plastic bags – like newspaper bags or trash bags – will be exempted from the ban.
Instead, customers will have to use either paper bags or reusable bags. Individual counties can opt into a 5-cent fee on paper bags, though it’s not a mandatory part of the new law. The idea, it seems, is to encourage people to use reusable bags as much as possible, rather than paper or plastic.
Environmentally speaking, this new law definitely marks progress. Plastic bags are basically the bane of the planet’s existence. They’re hugely wasteful, non-biodegradable, harmful to wildlife, environmentally costly to produce…the list goes on and on.
“These bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. He said the new plan will be a way to “protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”
And the rest of us benefit, too.