Plastic bags at your local grocery store could be a thing of the past. New York State public officials are proposing a ban on plastic bags and a fee on paper bags in retail stores for inclusion in the upcoming New York State Budget.
Assemblyman Sean Ryan said you can see the impact of the pollution plastic bags have in our local waterways.
“There’s 20 billion single-use shopping bags used in New York State every year. 20 billion,” Ryan said. “You know those bags weigh nothing, but the combined weight of those 20 billion bags equals 9,000 school buses.”
Other areas in in New York State like Suffolk County have already implemented a ban.
“We’re not trying to get the consumer to switch from plastic to paper. We’re trying to get the consumer to switch form plastic to durable, reusable bags,” Ryan said. “We’ll have paper there still if you’re in a pinch. Otherwise, we really want to push people to bring their durable bags back in to the supermarket when you shop.”
Ryan said even for those who shop on the go, utilizing reusable bags over time has become more convenient.
“A lot of suburbanites keep their bags in their trunk already. So when they go to the major supermarkets they can load up,” he said. “But they are also making these very clever collapsible bags that are about the size of a change purse. And for urban environments you slip that in your pocket on the way out the door and if you’re stopping and shopping you’ll have your bag with you.”
If it were to pass, the proposals implementation date has yet to be determined.