ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - New York’s ban on plastic bags goes into effect today (Monday).
Technically, it went into effect on March 1, but the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation held off enforcing it while bag manufacturers and convenience store owners took the state to court over it.
A state Supreme Court upheld the ban in an August 20 decision.
That decision allows the DEC to begin enforcing the ban today.
According to the DEC’s website “any ‘person required to collect tax’ must not distribute any plastic carryout bags to its customers unless such bags are exempt bags as provided for in the Bag Waste Reduction Law.”
Exempt bags include ones used by pharmacies to carry prescription drugs and produce bags for bulk items such as fruits and vegetables.
The DEC says New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags each year and about 85 percent of them end up in landfills, recycling machines, waterways, and streets.
Many grocery stores stopped using plastic bags in March, but turned back to them amid fears that customers' reusable bags could carry the coronavirus.