Cuomo moves to ban plastic bags in New York

NEW YORK — Plastic bags are on their way out in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced a plastic bag ban and a bottle bill expansion for his 2019 Executive Budget. The bottle bill expansion would make most non-alcoholic drink containers eligible for 5-cent redemption.

“While the federal government is taking our environmental progress backwards and selling out our communities to polluters and oil companies, in New York we are moving forward with the nation’s strongest environmental policies and doing everything in our power to protect our natural resources for future generations,” Cuomo said. “These bold actions to ban plastic bags and promote recycling will reduce litter in our communities, protect our water and create a cleaner and greener New York for all.”

In early 2017, Cuomo signed a bill preventing New York City from charging shoppers 5-cents for paper and plastic bags at stores because the “deeply flawed” plan allowed store owners to keep the profit. The next month, he created the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force.

The Department of Environmental Conservation will work with store owners and community leaders under Cuomo’s new plan to “ensure the roll-out of this initiative does not disproportionately impact low and moderate income and environmental justice communities through the distribution of reusable bags and exemptions where appropriate.”

This will help reduce contamination in the waste stream, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

“Promoting recycling, reducing waste, and helping end the blight of plastic bags littering our environment are top priorities,” Seggos said. “These actions will also help municipalities and retailers respond to global changes in the recycling industry.