Eliminate checkout bag pollution in New York State for 2019

Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS Senate Leaders, NYS Assembly Leaders

Help New York State eliminate 23 BILLION needless single use checkout bags from going into our environment every year!

Important considerations as NY State decides if they will act on single-use check out bags:

  • The proposal bans only thin plastic bags. Will move everyone to thicker plastic bags, increasing plastic pollution
  • A shift to much more expensive paper bags will raise the price of goods to all shoppers, whether they take a bag or not
  • Paper bags stress our environment (toxins, use of limited resources for manufacture and transport) and use should be discouraged with a fee on all checkout bags
  • Switching to another "disposable" bag of another material is not environmentally friendly
  • In California, where only plastic was banned, the plastics industry filed lawsuits saying banning only plastic was discriminatory, which held up action for nearly a decade. Let's learn from that.
  • Proposals requiring fees go to a State environmental fund create burdensome accounting and paperwork for businesses, rather than helping them be part of the solution, and should be avoided
  • Fees that go to an environmental fund can lull shoppers into thinking they're helping the environment if they "pay" to pollute it, which is far from the truth
  • All stores, not just big box stores, at all locations should be included
  • This would overrule all other bans statewide with a much weaker rule
  • A good bill encourages everyone to bring their own bags everywhere to eliminate ALL CHECKOUT BAG POLLUTION
Sponsored by

To: Governor Andrew Cuomo, NYS Senate Leaders, NYS Assembly Leaders
From: [Your Name]

Re: Governor Cuomo’s Plastic Bag Proposal/2019 Budget and Senate Bill S95 / Assembly Bill 5753

The proposed plastic bag ban helps, but a ban on plastic AND a fee on paper and all others is best. Addressing ALL checkout bags, at ALL checkout locations, large and small, will prevent billions of checkout bags from ending up as waste and pollution in our state every year. Just Bring Your Own Bag New York! We Got This!

A ban only on THIN, single-use, plastic checkout bags, has not worked elsewhere. Store owners will shift to heavier plastic bags, making MORE plastic waste. A good bill would ban ALL plastic checkout bags, except those that are intended for long-term use (175 uses or more).

A fee on paper and all others is important. Paper bags cost more, and without a mandatory fee on paper, business owners will either absorb the cost or pass it on to the consumer. In addition, paper is nearly as harmful to the environment as plastic.

An “Environmental Fund” for collected fees, such as is included in Senate Bill 95 / Assembly Bill 5753, could create complications for merchants. Though merchants can keep 20% of the collected fees, let’s keep accounting and enforcement simple. In addition, an environmental fund lulls people into thinking that if they don’t bring their own bag, they will still benefit the environment. Finally, as people bring their own bags to shop, the environmental fund will diminish, and expected funding for environmental projects won't be there for much needed programs.

A bag bill must apply to all retailers. If small retailers are excluded, billions of bags will still plague our environment.

Exemptions for SNAP and WIC recipients should apply.

A hybrid bill that will apply to ALL stores, with a ban on single-use and slightly heavier plastic bags and a mandatory minimum fee on paper and all others, can create a cultural shift that cleans up our state’s public spaces, making New York an environmental leader!