Statewide ban on single-use plastic bags proposed by Cuomo

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The New York Democrat introduced legislation Monday that would ban those establishments from issuing single-use plastic bags.

Instead of making specific recommendations, however, the task force only outlined options, which also included stronger enforcement of existing laws to reduce plastic bag waste, a new fee on the bags and a requirement that bag manufacturers fund a program to collect and recycle them. It would go into effect in 2019, and be accompanied by a state campaign to increase the use of reusable bags.

A handful of towns and cities in NY now ban plastic bags, and California is the only other entire state to have such a policy.

Jeremy Cherson, advocacy coordinator for Riverkeeper, said the organization is "encouraged that Governor Cuomo is taking plastic bag pollution seriously". He declined comment on Cuomo's new bill.

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Last week Nixon released a plan for addressing climate change that includes transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy in the state by 2050 and rejecting all new fossil fuel infrastructure, such as pipelines.

Susan Brockmann, one of hundreds of demonstrators who filled the State Capitol on Monday to rally for stronger environmental protections, said that NY should emulate California. So do many cities including Chicago, Seattle and more than a dozen local communities in NY state.

As communities and states across the country continue to struggle with the ecological and financial costs associated with the use of plastic bags, NY is taking action to implement legislation that will ban plastic bags statewide. Plastic bags used to contain vegetables or raw meat would be excluded from the ban, as would tradition plastic garbage bags or dry-cleaning bags. "This, coupled with the use of plastic bags made from recycled plastic will have a much greater impact in the long run". At the time, Cuomo cited the regressiveness of the tax, though embarrassing Mayor Bill de Blasio may have been reason enough for him to nix the plan.

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