The state of New York is taking a huge step toward sustainability by agreeing on a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. Scheduled to go into effect in March 2020, the ban’s goal is to encourage people to forego plastic and rely on reusable tote bags instead.
The ban, if passed, would prohibit stores from offering single-use plastic bags to customers — with the exception of food takeout bags, newspaper bags, bags used to wrap deli and meat, garment bags, and bags sold in bulk — though counties will be allowed to opt-in to provide paper bags to customers for five cents each.
Not everyone is welcoming this ban with open arms, however. Peter Iwanowics, executive director of Environmental Advocates of New York, said to The New York Times, “New York had a chance to show real leadership and came up short.” Environmentalists are upset that New York is even giving consumers the option to buy paper bags, because paper bags are also single-use items with serious environmental impact, as highlighted by Wired in 2006.
If the ban is passed, New York would be the second state to ban single-use plastic bags, following California’s lead, as well as Hawaii, where plastic bags are banned in all counties.