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Apr 29, 2019 12:25 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

New York State Lawmakers Pass Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban

May 1, 2019 10:09 AM

State lawmakers followed through with banning single-use plastic bags last week in time for Earth Day—although Albany was still nearly five years behind Southampton and East Hampton towns, which passed similar bans in 2014.

However, the new law, which is scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2020, will supersede the preexisting local laws, according to a Department of Environmental Conservation representative.

The ban prohibits retailers from supplying single-use plastic bags “at any point of sale,” and gives the DEC exclusive jurisdiction over all related matters, according to an April 15 press release. The law does not pertain to garment bags, trash bags, or bags used to wrap vegetables, fruits and sliced meats.

Under the law, local municipalities, as well as counties and cities, will be permitted to charge 5 cents per single-use paper bag—a fee that will be split between the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and the locality.

However, that aspect will not apply to East End or Suffolk County merchants. In 2018, when Suffolk County legislators passed a similar ban on single-use plastic bags, the law stated that any funds derived from the 5-cent charge would go back to the individual retailers to help offset operations costs. The same applies to local municipalities, such as Southampton and East Hampton towns.

The press release estimated that New York residents use approximately 23 billion plastic bags annually, and that more than half of those end up as litter.

“You see plastic bags hanging in trees, blowing down the streets, in landfills and in our waterways, and there is no doubt they are doing tremendous damage,” Mr. Cuomo said in the press release. “... By 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the oceans than fish. We need to stop using plastic bags, and today we’re putting an end to this blight on our environment.”

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I saw a women in the grocery store one day with about 25 clear plastic vegetable bags. Zucchini in one bag. Turnip in another. I decided I didn’t want to resemble this woman so I looked in my closet for cotton napkins I had used for setting the table, only nobody comes to visit anymore so they just sit there. Now when I go to the market I wrap my precious eggplant in washable lavender cloth and my basil in calico-print. Why use plastic when 200-300 thread count is prettier.
By pigroast (100), East Quogue on May 3, 19 2:33 PM