New York Lawmakers Approve Ban On Most Plastic Bags

The New York Times reports:

New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales, changing a way of life for millions of New Yorkers as legislators seek to curb an unsightly and omnipresent source of litter.

The plan, proposed a year ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016. Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags.

New York’s ban, which would begin next March, would forbid stores to provide customers with single-use plastic bags, which are nonbiodegradable and have been blamed for everything from causing gruesome wildlife deaths to thwarting recycling efforts.

The Rochester Democrat reports:

New York’s ban will apply to all single-use plastic bags provided by stores to carry out goods. It applies to any store that is required to collect sales tax, including groceries, retailers and small businesses. It does not apply to reusable bags with handles that are made of cloth or another durable material.

There are also exemptions for bags sold in bulk, trash bags, food-storage bags, garment bags, prepackaged bags offered for sale and bags for carryout orders at restaurants and taverns. What about paper bags? They aren’t banned, but counties and cities in New York will have the option to charge a 5 cents fee on each paper bag.