Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Democratic lawmakers have reached a deal to prohibit single-use plastic bags in New York State as part of the state's $175 billion budget, which was approved on March 25, 2019. The ban is to go into effect on March 1, 2020.
The NY State Plastic Bag Ban
The Act and proposed regulations prohibit the distribution of plastic carryout bags by retailers in New York State. Any retailer which is required to collect New York State sales tax will no longer be able to provide plastic carryout bags to their customers.
There are exemptions including plastic bags that are:
· wraps for fish, meat, food, flower, or plants.
· used by a customer to package items from bulk containers.
· used for food that is sliced or prepared to order.
· newspaper bags.
· prepackaged for bulk sale.
· sold as trash bags.
· garment bags.
· used by a restaurant to carry out or deliver food.
· from a pharmacy for prescription drugs.
· reusable bags as defined in the regulation.
· film plastic bags for which there is no reasonable alternative, as determined by DEC.
Plastic Bag Returns to Stores
The Act keeps the 2009 state requirements for retail stores to collect film plastic from consumers for recycling. Stores with 10,000 square feet or more of retail space and chains which operate five or more stores with greater than 5,000 square feet of retail space, and which provided plastic carryout bags to customers in the past, are required to establish an in-store plastic bag collection and recycling program.
The proposed regulations require stores to:
· accept plastic bags from customers for recycling.
· have a designated bin for theses bags, including signage.
· track volumes of plastic bags received.
· deliver the collected bags for recycling, not disposal.
Recycling Record Keeping
Stores and manufacturers are required by the proposed regulation to maintain records documenting the volume plastic bags returned to stores for recycling and the volume of bags then sent to manufacturers of recycled products.
The regulation requires that the operator of a store must make reusable bags available to customers for purchase or at no charge and must permit the usage of a reusable bag brought to the store by a customer. The proposed regulation defines a reusable bag as a bag that:
· has a minimum lifespan of 125 uses (one use is equivalent to carrying a minimum of 22 pounds over a distance of at least 175 feet).
· holds 22 lbs. for the duration of the lifespan of the bag.
· has a volume capacity of not less than 15 liters.
· has at least one handle that does not stretch .
- Is hand washable or machine washable;
has a minimum thickness of 10 mils for bags made of petroleum-based or non- petroleum-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or other plastic material of petroleum or non-petroleum origin;
has a minimum fabric weight of 80 grams per square meter (GSM) for bags made of any non-film plastic of natural, synthetic, petroleum based, or non-petroleum-based origin, including woven or nonwoven polypropylene (PP), polyethylene-terephthalate (PET), cotton, jute, or canvas; is made of a combination of the materials specified in subparagraphs 351-1.2(n)(5)(i) and (ii) of proposed Part 351 draft regulations; or
has a design of equivalent material strength and durability, as approved by the department.
As of March 1, 2020 counties and cities are authorized to adopt local laws establishing a 5 cent fee on paper carryout bags. Forty percent of the paper carryout reduction bag fee (2 cents) will be given back to the counties or cities with local laws imposing fees on paper carryout bags to be used for purchasing and distributing reusable bags.
More information regarding the Ban can be found at....