New York plastic bag ban: NY state to bring in new laws on single use plastic from March next year

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Plastic bags will be banned in New York State from March next year, according to the latest plan proposed by state lawmakers.

The ban, which is expected to be officially passed on Monday, would be the second state ban after California in 2016.

“These bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways," Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo said in a statement seen by New York Times. He said the ban would “protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”

Essentially the law will ban shops from providing customers with non-biodegradable plastic bags. The plan would also allow counties within New York State to opt in on a 5p fee for paper bags.

However, it has a number of important exemptions and bags used in restaurant takeaways, deli and meat counters as well as bulk item bags will still be allowed. Newspaper wrappings and trash and recycling bags will also be exempt from the ban.

Some environmental advocates were disappointed a mandatory paper bag fee would not be imposed and said people would simply use throw-away paper bags instead of plastic ones. Speaking to New York Times, Peter Iwanowicz, the executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York described it as a "weak response to the scourge of disposable bags.”

Plastic bags are being banned in New York State from March next year, according to a plan proposed by state lawmakers (PA Wire/PA Images)
Plastic bags are being banned in New York State from March next year, according to a plan proposed by state lawmakers (PA Wire/PA Images)

Some small business representatives felt the legislation would be difficult for those working with small margins.

“Independent businesses are simply not able to absorb and adjust to new mandated costs the same as their big-box competitors," said Greg Biryla, a director of National Federation of Independent Business.

In the UK, every retailer who employs more than 250 people must charge 5p for all single-use plastic bags. In January 2020 this charge is set to double to 10p.

According to UK government estimates, thanks to these charges £60 million will be saved in costs of cleaning up little within the next ten years.

Around 55 countries have now introduced a complete ban on single-use plastic bags. Bangladesh was first to ban them back in 2002.

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