New York moves to ban plastic bags

NEW YORK — Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to ban single-use plastic bags, though he previously blocked a 2017 plan to charge New York City shoppers 5-cents for paper and plastic bags at stores.

He introduced a bill Monday that would ban plastic carryout bags from any point of sale in the state. Garment bags, trash bags and bags used to wrap food such as fruit and sliced meats would be exempt from the bill. If passed, it would go into effect on New Year's Day of 2019.

"The blight of plastic bags takes a devastating toll on our streets, our water and our natural resources, and we need to take action to protect our environment," Gov. Cuomo said. "As the old proverb goes: 'We did not inherit the earth, we are merely borrowing it from our children,' and with this action we are helping to leave a stronger, cleaner and greener New York for all."

His announcement came after Democratic rival Cynthia Nixon spoke at a rally protesting Cuomo's climate change policies on Monday.

Gov. Cuomo had set up a plastic bag task force last year to study the issue. The report, released on Jan. 13, offered several possible solutions to combat the plastic-bag issue.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced support for a plastic bag ban in March.

"We need to ban plastic bags — the time for debate on this is over," he tweeted. "They're bad for the environment, they're bad for the economy, they're bad for New York. The state is behind the curve here, it's time to put our planet first."