Saturday, February 29, 2020

The Plastic Bag Ban: What It Means For You

ny plastic bag banA new analysis from the Rockefeller Institute of Government examines New York’s plastic bag ban –  how the law rolls out, what is prohibited by the law and what is exempt; what it means for customers, retailers, and the environment; and how consumers can best adapt.

An estimated 23 billion bags are used in New York each year. Plastic bag litter can accumulate quickly and pose threats to humans, wildlife, and the environment. The Bag Waste Reduction Law is intended to reduce plastic bag waste and its negative impacts.

The analysis also looks at which other governments have passed laws and how consumers and retailers have responded, including the exploitation of legal loopholes, as well as an increase in purchases of thicker, heavier plastic bags.

Other findings from the analysis include:

Eight states currently have plastic bag bans, while 15 states have preemption laws that prohibit a municipality’s ability to regulate plastic bags.

More than 650 municipal-level plastic bag laws have been enacted since the first plastic bag ban in 2007.

The full analysis, including details about how the law will work, what is exempt, and more, can be found online.

Photo of Rockefeller Institute reusable bags provided.

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4 Responses

  1. Harv Sibley says:

    The new law will usher in new habits, similar to the seat belt law and litter laws, not abad thing at all,
    But lingering questions abound: what about large trash bags, and vacuum packed retail items, etc. We need to incentivize consumers, not punish them. Trader Joe has eco bags that are biodegradable. Here’s an idea: Retailers should offer a$1 cash discount or points for future use when you bring your own bag, or offer to donate $1 to climate causes…… that could work.

    Now we need to figure out a bio bag for large trash….


    • Meredith says:

      A couple of suggestions: Paper leaf bags for large trash. Less “large” trash: bring a reusable container for restaurant leftovers, buy milk in burnable cartons or glass, avoid “sodas” in cans and bottles that aren’t returnable. As you say, we will accept change and become more creative.

  2. Wendy Taylor says:

    I’m happy to see New York State taking some action to protect our environment! Its a very positive change!

  3. Charlie S says:

    Harv Sibley says: ” We need to incentivize consumers, not punish them.”

    I don’t feel like I’m being punished Harv. As one commenter in the other ‘Plastic ban’ post said, the governor didn’t go far enough as he did not ban plastic straws, cups and single-use water bottles. We’re a bunch of slobs Harv! Have you ever looked at the sides of our roads? The only ones being punished are the plants and water and wildlife who have no say on the matter.

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