Student’s Corner

Plastic Bags Soon to be Banned In New York State

On this year’s Earth Day, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed a legislation that will ban single-use plastic bags statewide. The new law will take effect on March 1, 2020, and will apply to any store that collects sales tax such as groceries and small businesses.

New York is the third state to enact a statewide ban on plastic bags following California and Hawaii. Unlike the legislation in California, which requires a 10-cent minimum charge of for recycled paper bags, reusable plastic bags, and compostable bags, New York’s law will not require a fee on paper bags. There is, however, an option for individual counties to place a 5-cent fee on them.

The new policy will help reduce the amount of litter on the streets, landfills, and waterways, which has consistently been an issue. As the fourth most populated state, New York will be able to reduce its future carbon footprint. Most plastic bags are made of a substance called polyethylene, which is derived from crude oil refining and natural gas processing. Not only are oil and natural gas non-renewable fossil fuel-based resources, their extraction and production emit greenhouse gases, which also contribute to climate change worldwide. So, the new plastic bags ban will not only reduce the amount of waste produced, but also help the environment overall.

At the University of Rochester, there is already a reusable tote bag discount in place at the Hillside Market. Whenever a customer shops at the local market and brings in a reusable tote instead of using a plastic bag, they receive a 5% discount. Additionally, the University of Rochester Official Bookstore has reusable tote bags for sale.


Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022

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