New York State Enacts A New Plastic Bag Ban

Melanie Senra, Staff Writer

At this point, it’s already basic knowledge that New York is enforcing a new plastic bag law after Mar 1st, 2020. Grocery stores can no longer provide plastic bags for free. If a customer asks for plastic bags they will need to pay a fee. The ban applies to as said by the New York State Website, “All plastic carryout bags (other than an exempt bag) became banned from distribution by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax.”
The plastic bag ban is not new by any means. The legislation has already been approved in many U.S states such as Hawaii, California, and others. Environmental friendly legislation like this is no surprise. Environmental movements have been trending especially in the last few years. It appears New York is hopping on the bandwagon as well. The ban is a good step in the right direction for environmental awareness. This ban couldn’t happen sooner.
Even with people thinking being kind to the environment is in “trend” now, lately, the pro-environmental trends have not been as beneficial as expected. A good example was the recent hate against plastic straws. Though having good intentions there wasn’t much of an impact. Yes, plastic straws are plastic waste obviously; not using plastic straws would save some turtles but in terms of motivation, there is no fee for using them. It was just a public interest that made people use their paper and metal straws.
With this new ban, the state will theoretically be ridding itself of a bigger percentage of plastic and creating better habits due to the incentive. Also in terms of pollution, plastic bags not only pollute the water but also the land and because of their lightweight design, these bags can travel far distances. You can’t go far without seeing a plastic bag on the ground, especially in New York.
With any legislation, there is always an argument against it. Many think that this will just increase the use of paper bags. Paper bags do help the environment compared to plastic, but many don’t think it is worth the cost because paper bags are more expensive. What many don’t know is that there is an alternative to plastic and paper one-use bags. Those floral printed tote bags aren’t just for your next beach day picnic, though they do make great beach bags. Grocery stores encourage you to bring these tote bags back to the store and reuse them. Many stores have been giving out discounts and rewards for people who purchase and use these tote bags.
Plastic bags are something New Yorkers can probably live without. The only exception of course could be people who are not financially stable. There are many who have found ways around it by using any bag they already own such as backpacks and others. With any change people will need to adjust but I know New Yorkers can adapt. It will be interesting to see this transition.