New York lawmakers have agreed to impose a ban on single-use plastic bags used in retail sales, The New York Times reports. The ban, which would take effect next March, is expected to exempt certain types of plastic bags, including those used for food takeout, deli counter products, bulk items, newspaper bags, garment bags, and bags sold in bulk such as those for trash and recycling collection.
The legislation would also allow counties to opt in to impose a 5-cent tax on paper bags. The revenue for which would go both to a fund to help provide reusable bags to consumers as well as to the Environmental Protection Fund.
The plastic bag ban would be the second statewide ban to take effect, following the standard California put in place in 2016.
Single-use plastic bags are a significant source of contamination and landfill waste. They are also notoriously difficult for recyclers to manage and collect.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who spearheaded the initiative, Tweeted, “Plastic bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways. By banning them, we will protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”