New Yorkers who don’t already carry totes everywhere may have to pick up the habit. Part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2020 $175 billion USD budget plan includes a proposed ban on single-use plastic bags, which is expected to pass.
“Every year, there are billions — billions with a ‘b’ — of bags that are thrown away after just one use,” senator Todd Kaminsky told CNN. “The average plastic bag use is about 12 minutes … we just have this disposable plastic craze and it is adding up.” On the West Coast, California has already enacted its own ban and local laws in Hawaii prohibit plastic bags, though the New York law does have several caveats: plastic carryout bags, dry cleaning bags and fruit & vegetable bags at grocery stores will be allowed.
Still, countless retailers in NYC that utilize plastic shopping bags will either need to find an alternative or can opt into the state’s new paper bag program. Customers will have the option to go bagless or take a paper option at a 5-cent fee, of which three cents will go to New York’s environmental protection fund and two cents will stay within the municipality.
If it passes, as experts expect it to, the plastic bag ban will go into effect in March 2020.
Elsewhere in New York, Chicago’s famous Sawada Coffee opened up its first Big Apple location.