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New Plastic Bag Ban Proposal For New York State May Actually Be Picking Up Steam

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New Yorkers are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo and other New York State law makers to finalize a ban on plastic bag usage throughout the state. Roughly 185 groups of environmentalists and civics sent a letter in early march to lawmakers.

They are asking state leaders to follow the example of California and hundreds of other cities and towns that have already banned plastic shopping bags and imposed fees on other types of bags. Senate Republicans say they are open to talking about the issue this year.

“We’re certainly looking at the impact of waste overall in our state and certainly these single use plastic clomid bags are a significant component of that,” said state Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-58).

The world today makes and consumes about 600 billion pounds of plastic every year, and the market is still growing by 5% every year. Plastic bags are a large contributor.

The buzz about reducing plastic bag waste started last year when Cuomo and other lawmakers blocked New York City from enacting a five-cent fee on plastic bag usage. Now the city is moving for a statewide ban on plastic bags instead. Now, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie says he won’t try to stop a city-wide ban.

“The city can ban, the mayor and the council can ban plastic bags on their own, and we wouldn’t interfere with that,” Heastie said.

The Cuomo administration is now looking into ways to adequately address the problem. Lawmakers in the Republican-led Senate are weighing whether a stronger campaign to encourage renewable products and recycling would be a possible solution.

“Or we’re looking at a bag fee options that are proposed out there too,” O’Mara said. “There’s a wide range of issues and we’re going to go through all of those in the Republican conference of the Senate.”

There are a few opponents to the fee on plastic bags, like Senator Simcha Felder (D-17). Felder states that charging anyone anything is not okay. However, Felder did not express opposition to the bag ban.

“I think something has to get done. I can’t speak for the Senate,” Felder said.