Say so long to single-use bags: Budget bringing bag ban to NY


New York will soon become the third state in the nation to ban single-use plastic bags.

The measure was included in the $175.5 billion budget passed by lawmakers in Albany.

Lawmakers say the ban aims to get consumers to use reusable bags to bring home their groceries. The move is being heralded by environmentalists as a win for wildlife and nature.

Suffolk County has charged a 5 cent fee for paper or plastic bags for just over a year. But under the new law, plastic bags will not be available anywhere. For Nassau County consumers and stores owners, the bag change will bring a whole new shopping experience.

Not everyone is thrilled with the new state law, including many in the food and convenience store industry. They say the law is unfair because an exception is being carved out for restaurants and delis, but not grocery stores and big box retailers.

Jay Peltz, with the Food Industry Alliance of NY, says the law will likely lead to more paper bag use, which he says will cost stores more money.

"Under the state law, retailers will not be reimbursed at all," Peltz says.

But environmentalists say the ultimate goal is to encourage reusable bags.

"We want people to bring their own bag -- not use plastic, not use paper -- and that is what really helps the environment," says Adrienne Esposito, with Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

The single-use bag ban will take effect in New York on March 1, 2020.

California and Hawaii have statewide bans on the bags.