Lawmakers, environmentalists push for plastic bag ban


If the bill passes, the ban on single-use plastic bags - which still allows for several exemptions - would take effect in March 2020.

"With this smart, multi-pronged action NY will be leading the way to protect our natural resources now and for future generations of New Yorkers", Cuomo, who proposed a ban in his $175 billion budget proposal, said in a statement Friday.

Jeremy Cherson, legislative advocacy manager for Riverkeeper, called on the legislation to be included in the state budget saying New Yorkers use some 23 billion single-use plastic bags annually "and that is 23 billion too many for our environment".

The Food Industry Alliance, which represents many in the state's grocery industry, issued a statement earlier this year opposing Cuomo's proposal to ban plastic bags. Manufacturing plastic bags produces a high amount of greenhouse gases, and, like many other plastic products, the standard bags are not biodegradebale. "And that if people go to paper rather than reusables, we are not that better off".

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But State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who is chairman of New York's environmental conservation committee, told Cheddar the bill wasn't meant to push the state toward paper bags.

But New York's new ban has faced pushback. So some advocates have criticized the NY plan for giving customers the option to buy paper bags, rather than ban them outright.

Nonetheless, Patrick McClellan, state policy director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, said his group was "thrilled" that the bag ban appears headed for passage.

"New York had a chance to show real leadership and came up short", Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of NY, tells McKinley. "But I'm glad we're doing it now and leading the way in being one of the first states to do it".