New York state will start enforcing its long-stalled ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and supermarkets starting Oct. 19, according to a letter filed in court. Some bags are exempt from the rule, including plastic bags used by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs, produce bags for fruits and vegetables or those used to wrap fish and meat.
After Oct. 19, first-time offenders will receive a warning from the DEC but won’t be hit with a monetary penalty. Those merchants found in violation a second time will be hit with a $250 penalty, and then a $500 fine upon third offense.
The ban took effect March 1, but has been stalled thanks to a lawsuit filed in Albany Supreme Court from Poly-Pak Industries — a Long Island-based plastics manufacturer — that halted state enforcement requiring retailers to trash the environmentally unsound.