Starting March 1, 2020, a new bag waste reduction law took effect in New York State, where over 23 billion plastic bags are typically used each year. Plastic bag usage affects both our communities and environment. Plastic bags can be seen stuck in trees, as litter in our neighborhoods, and floating in our waterways. From the significant recycling and disposal issues they pose to the harm they can do to wildlife, the negative impacts of plastic bags are easily seen.
Actual enforcement of the law will not begin until April 1, and enforcement includes penalties against stores that do not comply.
As a consumer, you can help and #BYOBagNY — Bring Your Own Bag. Keep reusable bags in your car, or clip folding reusable bags onto your commuting bag or purse so you always have them handy. If you store them near the door or coat closet, you’ll be more likely to remember them on the way out. Remember that every time you use a reusable bag, you are doing your part to prevent litter and waste. Using reusable bags makes sense and is the right thing to do. You can also remind your family, friends, and neighbors to bring their reusable bags whenever they shop.
The Bag Waste Reduction Law applies to more than just grocery stores. Whether you’re going to the grocery store, clothes shopping, or to a home improvement store, make sure to bring your reusable bags.
Some bags are exempt under the law, so plastic bags may still be distributed to consumers in a few specific circumstances, such as a bag used by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs, and produce bags for bulk items such as fruits and vegetables. But as a consumer, you can aid in protecting our environment by using reusable bags as much as possible.
Learn More from New York City Department of Sanitation about how the new Bag Waste Reduction Law will effect New York City businesses and residents HERE: DSNY-Carryout Bag Changes.
You can access the full text version of the Bag Waste Reduction law (Environmental Conservation Law ECL Article 27, Title 28) from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Technical information for manufacturers or retailers is available regarding the New York State Bag Waste Reduction Act.