New York’s ban takes effect March 1 after being signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year. The goal is to reduce plastics pollution in New York; think tattered plastic bags in trees or clogging street drains.
On the other hand, experts say plastic bags produce less greenhouse gases over their lifetime than paper bags,making them a better option from a global warming standpoint. By next month, all grocery and retail establishments required to pay sales tax must be fully switched over to paper bags and/or reusable bags. Then it’s up to the counties or the stores to decide whether to charge 5 cents for each paper bag. That includes stores like Target and Kohl’s, and your local corner shop.
At least eight other states have also banned plastic bags, including California, Oregon, Delaware and New Jersey. Dutchess, Suffolk and Ulster counties have already implemented bans passed by their lawmakers in the last two years.
On average, paper bags will cost stores about seven times more to order in bulk than plastic bags, said Jim Calvin, president of the state Association of Convenience Stores. There are about 8,500 convenience stores in New York, including gas stations, bodegas and rest stop stores.