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Lawmakers want to ban single-use plastic bottles: Will they be banned everywhere soon?

Opposition is growing at the state level to eliminate single-use plastic bottles in New York. Will that mean single-use plastic bottles will soon be illegal?

In 2020 the state moved to eliminate single-use plastic bags from stores. The move was met with a ton of resistance, but after a few months – most became accustomed to the change. Reusable shopping bags have since become the norm, with a couple exceptions during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Now a new effort to ban plastic bottle sales at New York State Parks is getting new attention. Assemblywoman Pat Fahy says it’s time to take a step toward reducing waste. Fahy and Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick want to ban the sale of single-use plastic bottles on state park property.

“We’re overdue for doing more on recycling, right, and water bottles. We are still, despite all the efforts with recycling, with selling reusable water bottles, we’re still selling 70 billion single-use water bottles, just in the U.S. alone,” Fahy said. “So if we start with at least our parks, it’s not that our parks are flooded in littered with water bottles, but it’s a reminder to people keep our parks clean. Let’s keep our streets clean.”

Lawmakers acknowledge it would be a challenge. Bringing glass bottles to beaches, parks, or even concert venues as it would be – could pose challenges. It could also be unsafe.

Fahy says the measure would need to be phased in, but that expanding multi-use water bottle options would be needed.

While that would work for H2O, other liquids consumed through a plastic bottle in those venues may not be feasible.

“We had the right to refill bill a year or two ago and we need to make sure that we have refill stations,” Fahy said. “We need to make sure that we have water stations and we’re giving this a few years to be implemented, but we’ve got to start with the reminder.”

Could New York State ban single-use plastic bottles everywhere?

There are no immediate efforts to end single-use plastic bottles in New York. At least not like the ones that people buy at the store, when purchasing large quantities of water.

However, it could happen. New York is one of just a few states in the U.S. that bans single-use plastic bags. Many environmental advocates say plastic bottles are an even greater risk than plastic bags posed.

They also argue it would go a longer way to having a real impact on the state’s environmental impact.

So far no legislation has been proposed to ban single-use plastic bottles.