In the past few years, there has been a huge movement to ban plastic bags from retail and grocery stores. This has picked up so much steam that multiple states have banned plastic bags entirely, like California and Hawaii. Recently, New York announced that starting March 1st, 2020, a new Bag Waste Reduction law will take effect. So if you are wondering what this ban means, why it is so popular and how it will potentially change your day-to-day life, keep on reading.
While every state and store are different, the basics of the NY plastic ban are this: “Starting March 1, 2020, all plastic carryout bags (other than an exempt bag) are banned from distribution by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax. For sales that are tax exempt, plastic carry out bags are still not allowed to be distributed by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax (unless it is an exempt bag).” Instead, the State of New York is encouraging people to bring their own bags along on shopping trips.
New York is obviously a busy place, but this also means that it produces a lot more waste than other cities. In fact, on average, New Yorkers use more than 23 billion plastic bags a year, which means that every person is using about 1,000 bags per year. This is having a terrible effect on the environment. Not only does it mean that New York is less clean (but is the city ever really clean?) but it means that every New Yorker is leaving a negative impact on the world for 400-1000 years (yes, that is how long it takes for ONE plastic bag to break down).
If you do not live in New York, you may think that this ban has nothing to do with you, but think again. New York is notorious for being one step ahead of the rest of the country, after all, it is the biggest city in America, so if a state filled with 19.5 million people can get rid of plastic bags, it is only a matter of time before this becomes a nationwide movement. Even if it is a little more inconvenient to bring your own bag shopping, this change is a huge step towards cutting plastic out of our lives and creating a better world for us all.