JAMESTOWN – Jamestown retailers, much like most in the State of New York, have already begun giving up single use plastic bags ahead of a March ban aimed at reducing pollution. However, many supporters of the new law worry that it is simply not enough.
This new law will ban businesses from using thin plastic bags that have harmful to the environment, clogging up landfills and building up lakes and oceans. Paper bags will be allowed, but businesses will have the option of imposing a 5 cent fee.
While the law is an attempt at protecting the environment going forward, there are some concerns that the regulation may be too flexible. Many suggest there is a loophole allowing stores to skirt the ban by handing out plastic bags thick enough to be considered multi use bags.
Jason Conwall, a spokesman for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dismissed concerns about the possible loophole saying; “These groups should stop promoting baseless conspiracy theories and focus their efforts on helping New Yorkers transition to re-usable bags.”
“Shoppers are encouraged to start using sturdy reusable bags, such as those made of canvas or polyester”, said Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
The agency says the plastic industry will likely lack the machinery to produce thicker plastic bags that meet New York’s standard and still be cost effective.
While major chains like Wegmans have already made the transition moving away from plastic , some convenience store owners want to be exempt from the ban, which excludes bags used for takeout food, wrapped meat, and prepared food. The smaller convenience store owners are said to have been feeling anxiety about having enough paper bags to go around by March 1.
Seggos says his agency is fully aware of concerns about paper bag shortages and has purchased over a quarter million reusable bags that the state will give out to food pantries and shelters.
“The industry has known this has been coming for 10 months,” he said.
However executive director of the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, Matt Seaholm sees incoming trouble for some.
“Retailers who typically buy their bags months in advance are staring down the barrel of implementation that they just cannot comply with,” he said.
Nice to hear NYS is starting to do away with plastic bags. It”s about time that someone took the initiative to combat this problem. I live in PA and I wish they would too.