On the occasion of the Earth day, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. This comes as a big step towards curbing the current plastic menace that New York is facing. The Empire state uses 23 billion single-use plastic every year, half of which ends up in the landfills and the oceans.
After Hawaii and California, New York becomes the third state to completely ban throwaway plastic bags. New York state has time and again tried to reduce the use and production of plastic bags. To address the environmental issues caused by plastic, the state instituted the New York state plastic bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling act in 2009. In a bid to minimize waste production and encourage recycling, the law was expanded in March of 2015 to include the collection and recycling of certain plastic packaging products.
However, these programs did not result in critical recovery. The state had to implement a much broader program.
Andrew Cuomo implemented the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force in March of 2017 to develop a long term solution to the throwaway plastic bag problem in the state.
“New York has led the nation by taking bold action to protect our environment – and this task force marks another step forward in that effort,” Governor Cuomo said. “The costly and negative impact of plastic bags on New York’s natural resources is a statewide issue that demands a statewide solution. This diverse coalition of experts will bring the experience and knowledge necessary to tackle this problem and safeguard New York’s environment for future generations.”
The final report is a detailed account of the plastic bag menace and measures to keep it under check. Along with reducing plastic bags in landfills and waterways across the state, this new law will also eliminate an estimated 12 million barrels of oil used in the making of plastic in the state of New York.
An estimated 5 cent fee will be levied per single-use paper bag post the ban comes into effect. The net collection will go towards New York state’s Environmental protection fund and distribution of reusable bags.