While New Yorkers have been given a reprieve on the plastic bag ban, which was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year — it will come to an end in approximately a week.
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos says enforcement is going to begin on October 19th. It was intended to take effect on March 1st, but due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, was delayed.
Environmental activists called for the ban to be enforced regardless the outcome of the virus. However, it wasn’t enforced due to an agreement between those involved in a lawsuit brought by Poly-Pak Industries.
In a press release, Seggos called the Court’s decision on that lawsuit a ‘victory’ and ‘vindication’ of New York’s efforts to end the scourge of single-use plastic bags. He also said it was a “direct rebuke to the plastic bag manufacturers who tried to stop the law and DEC’s regulations to implement it.”
“DEC is encouraging New Yorkers to make the switch to reusable bags whenever and wherever they shop and to use common-sense precautions to keep reusable bags clean. The Court has ruled and DEC will begin to enforce the ban October 19th,” Seggos added.
Altogether an estimated 23 billion plastic bags are used annually. A staggering 85% of them end up in landfills, recycling machines, waterways, and streets.
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