The New York legislature signaled Thursday that it would approve of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to ban single use plastic bags that he included in his 2019 state budget proposal.
Cuomo proposed following suit with California and Hawaii in banning the use of plastic bags across the state. The move marks a reversal of his position from 2017, when he signed a bill preventing New York City from implementing a five cent tax on single use plastic bags. The proposed ban would go into effect in March of 2020 and prohibit the use of single use plastic bags except for in certain circumstances, such as for carrying take-out from a restaurant or for transporting bundles of newspapers. Alternatively, the proposal allows counties to instead levy a five cent tax on each plastic bag used, similar to the earlier city ordinance that the governor prohibited. The omnibus budget proposal, including the bag ban, is expected to be fully approved by the New York legislature on Monday.
In a statement made to the New York Times, Cuomo described plastic bags as a “blight” and said that the plan would “protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”
New York would join California and Hawaii, as well as countries such as Kenya, in prohibiting the use of plastic bags over concerns about their environmental impact. Unlike paper, plastic bags are generally not biodegradable and are responsible for a large percentage of trash and pollution, particularly in high population areas with large waterways.