New York Bans Plastic Bags to Address Environmental Blights

New York Bans Plastic Bags to Address Environmental Blights

The planet we call our home is drowning in plastic pollution, and it has become one of the most severe environmental issues. Plastic bags are the most significant contributors to this issue. Every year, New York faces the astonishing issue of 23 bn plastic bags, and the vast majority of these bags end up polluting waterways, streets, and green spaces. In order to address the issue, New York has banned the use of plastic bags. The bag waste reduction law took effect on March 1, 2020.

It is hoped that the single-use plastic bags will help in addressing the issue of plastic bags.

Bag Waste Reduction Law

New York is the third state to enforce a state-wide ban on the use of plastic bags. The law was previously enforced by California and Oregon.

The Bag Waste Reduction law restricts businesses to provide or sell plastic bags. The law is applicable to more than grocery stores. It also applies to other stores like cloth stores and home improvement stores.

Exempt Bags

Nevertheless, the law does not include a complete ban on plastic bags. There are notable exceptions, including prescription drugs, non-film plastic reusable bags, rubbish bags, takeaways, and delivery food bags, and uncooked meat and fish packaging.

Initially, the Department of Environmental Conservation of New York said that it has planned on focusing on educating rather than punishing the people who do not abide by the law. In the long term, the businesses that do not follow the law or quit the use of plastic bags even after a warning can be fined $250 for the first breach. For any further breach in the same year, they will have to pay a fine of $500.

Types of Bags Allowed to Use

The law encourages shoppers to carry their own bags for shopping. Shoppers are allowed to use any type of bags other than the plastic ones. Shoppers are even allowed to use film plastic reusable bags. Ideally, the bags should be washable, environment-friendly, and designed for multiple usages, like the bags made from cloth.

It is essential for the shoppers to note that the stores are not needed to keep bags available for the customers. Hence, it is necessary for the shoppers to Bring Your Own Bag #BYOBAGNY.

Governor Andrew Cuomo hailed the ban saying, “bold action to protect our environment and ban these environmental blights.”

Rashmi Saini