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Starting March 1, 2020, a new bag waste reduction law will take effect in all of New York State, where over 23 billion plastic bags are typically used each year.
This new NYS law bans stores from giving out plastic carryout bags (with only a very few exemptions, such as produce bags and bags for pharmaceutical purchases).
Plastic bag usage affects both our communities and environment. Plastic bags can be seen stuck in trees, as litter in our neighborhoods, and floating in our waterways. From the significant recycling and disposal issues they pose, to the harm they can do to our environment, the negative impacts of plastic bags are easily seen.
Here are just a few of the sobering facts underlying the need to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics, especially those where less harmful, readily available alternatives exist, such as abandoning single-use plastic bags in favor of using durable reusable bags:
• In 2015, about 730,000 tons of high density poly-ethylene (HDPE) plastic “bags, sacks and wraps” of waste were generated in the United States, but only 5.5% of this total was recycled.
• An estimated 5-13 million tons of plastic enter our oceans each year from land-based sources, much of which harms sea life and works its way into the food chain, potentially back to your plate.
• Plastic bags clog waste and recycling processing machinery, which increase costs for everyone.
As a consumer, you can help by doing the right thing: Bring Your Own Bag when you shop – #BYOBagNY, Scarsdalians!
Keep reusable bags in your car, backpack, or in your purse so you always have them handy. If you store them near the door or coat closet bat home, you’ll be more likely to remember them on the way out. Remember that every time you use a reusable bag, you are doing your part to prevent litter and waste. Using reusable bags makes sense and is the right thing to do. Please also remind your family, friends, and neighbors to bring their reusable bags whenever they shop.
The new New York State Bag Waste Reduction Law applies to more than just grocery stores. Whether you’re going to the grocery store, clothes shopping, or to a home improvement store, make sure to bring your reusable bags.
Please note that stores are not required to have bags available for customers. Some stores may choose not to switch to paper and may only have reusable bags for purchase. That is why it is important for consumers to Bring Your Own Bag. And if you have a small purchase, such as a magazine, candy or drink, you can help our environment by saying "No thank you" to a single-use paper bag and carrying the item instead.
THANK YOU for supporting New York State’s reusable bag initiative, and remember, Scarsdalians – #BYOBagNY!