In an agreement reached earlier last week but not officially announced until Sunday, most single-use plastic bags provided by supermarkets and other stores will be banned statewide starting March 1, 2020.
Under the plan, shoppers would pay three cents for every paper bag they get, with the money going to state's Environmental Protection Fund. Hawaii has an effective statewide ban, with all its counties imposing their own restrictions.
New York State is poised to follow California and become the second state in the country to completely ban single-use plastic bags, with lawmakers in Albany agreeing Thursday on the new regulations to cut-down on litter and waste.
Supporters of such bans say they keep plastic bags from entering the environment and causing damage to ecosystems and waterways.
"New York had a chance to show real leadership and came up short", said Peter Iwanowicz, executive director of Environmental Advocates of NY, according to the Times.
The ban will apply to all single-use plastic bags provided by stores to carry out goods, according to the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Manufacturing plastic bags produces a high amount of greenhouse gases, and, like many other plastic products, the standard bags are not biodegradebale.
New York City residents offered mixed reactions to the news as they prepared for drastic changes to how they shop.
That said, a plastic bag ban will not promote the utilization of reusable bags and will in fact increase the use of paper bags.
People who use food stamps will be exempt from paying the fees.
Californians were the first to implement a statewide ban on plastic bags. So some advocates have criticized the NY plan for giving customers the option to buy paper bags, rather than ban them outright.
"I think we have a lot of agreements or are close to agreement", Heastie said. New York's environmental advocates have also echoed this concern. The group stated in January that paper bags are the bigger environmental threat (they aren't) and the plastic ban would only harm business.