Statewide ban on single-use plastic bags proposed by Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to ban single-use plastic bags like these from being used for carryout purchases at grocery stores. The ban would begin Jan. 1 2019

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to ban single-use plastic bags like these from being used for carryout purchases at grocery stores. The ban would begin Jan. 1 2019

The Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, announced last week an ambitious new energy efficiency target that will aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs and deliver almost a third of the state's 2030 greenhouse gas reduction goal. He added, "As the old proverb goes: 'We did not inherit the earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children, ' and with this action we are helping to leave a stronger, cleaner and greener NY for all".

The legislation is just a draft and would need to be introduced and passed by both the New York State Assembly and State Senate before becoming law.

"Bans tried elsewhere have made it harder for families to pay for groceries while also incentivizing shoppers to use bags that are worse for the environment than 100 percent recyclable, highly reused plastic retail bags", Seaholm said.

A state task force at looked this issue a year ago and runs through a bunch of different options for cutting down on plastic bag use, and the pros and cons for each approach.

New York State has announced a new energy efficiency target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and tackle climate change. For example: California has a ban on single-use carryout bags.

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Cuomo's new proposal came on the same day that his Democratic primary opponent Cynthia Nixon joined hundreds of New Yorkers at an environmental rally outside the state Capitol. The bill would go into effect on January 1, 2019. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 80% of ocean pollution is from land use, including plastic bags. So do many cities including Chicago, Seattle and more than a dozen local communities in NY state.

Cuomo cited the "devastating toll" plastic bags take on our natural resources.

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Last year, the Legislature approved a bill blocking a 5-cent fee on plastic bags in New York City.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo is taking real, enforceable action today to reduce the scourge of plastic bag waste blighting our communities, state lands, and waters". At the time, Cuomo cited the regressiveness of the tax, though embarrassing Mayor Bill de Blasio may have been reason enough for him to nix the plan.

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