As of Sunday, March 1st, New York has officially banned the distribution of plastic carryout bags throughout the state.
The ordinance was met with severe opposition from the get-go. Right now, the plastic bag manufacturer Poly-Pak alongside an army of 6,000 convenience store owners are suing New York, claiming that the bag ban is unconstitutional.
Interestingly, there was an amendment to the 1971 Pennsylvania Constitution which states, “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and aesthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all people.”
Too bad this only applies to Pennsylvania.
One of the arguments against the bag ban is that forcing a fee on paper bags is an unconstitutional tax. However, families on government assistance are exempt from the fees and there is no fee for utilizing reusable bags. Many local agencies are giving away reusable bags to New York residents at no cost (see below).
As a result of the lawsuit, the ban will not be enforceable until at least April 1st, so stores will not be penalized for distributing plastic bags throughout March.
We are following the court case closely and will keep you posted with updates!
More resources: Take One Last Look at the (Many) Plastic Bags of New York
Images: posted with permission from PXhere and PixaBay