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New Move To Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags Underway In New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and several Democratic state legislators want to ban the use of plastic bags, like these ones caught in some trees, to reduce environmental pollution.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and several Democratic state legislators want to ban the use of plastic bags, like these ones caught in some trees, to reduce environmental pollution. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

In an effort to “combat litter, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment for future generations,” New York is banning single-use plastic bags and is expanding the bottle bill to include most non-alcoholic containers.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that a bottle bill expansion and a plastic bag ban will be included in the 2019 Executive Budget. The expansion on the bottle bill will make most non-alcoholic drink containers eligible for five-cent redemption.

The expansion on the bottle bill will include sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable beverages and ready-to-drink teas and coffee. The Bottle Bill expansion will include some exceptions for bottles containing dairy milk, milk substitutes, infant formula, syrups and flavorings, medical prescriptions and dietary supplements.

According to Cuomo, New Yorkers use billions of plastic bags annually, which do not biodegrade, creating massive amounts of litter in neighborhoods and waterways and posing a threat to the health of New Yorkers and the environment. The ban would reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic bag production and disposal, if approved.

"While the federal government is taking our environmental progress backward and selling out our communities to polluters and oil companies, in New York we are moving forward with the nation's strongest environmental policies and doing everything in our power to protect our natural resources for future generations,” Cuomo stated. "These bold actions to ban plastic bags and promote recycling will reduce litter in our communities, protect our water and create a cleaner and greener New York for all.”

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos added, "promoting recycling, reducing waste, and helping end the blight of plastic bags littering our environment are top priorities. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo's leadership, proposals to ban plastic bags and expand the bottle bill will bolster New York's ongoing efforts to improve recycling markets and reduce contamination in the waste stream. These actions will also help municipalities and retailers respond to global changes in the recycling industry. We will continue to explore additional ways to protect our environment."

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