New York’s plastic bag ban officially took effect Sunday — but the state will wait until April 1 to penalize stores that violate it. That’s a good thing for some merchants whose stores were still giving out their remaining plastic bags.
The ban was greeted mostly positively by New Yorkers who spoke to amNewYork Metro on Sunday. Many of them expressed concern about the long-term effects the bags have on the environment.
Single-use paper bags are allowed, but counties have the option of imposing a 5-cent fee. Some stores were already charging for paper bags, including CVS drug stores, but Target staff were seen giving their bags out for free.
The state’s ban exempts bags used for restaurant takeout food, plastic bags used to wrap meat and bags used for prepared food.
The State Department of Environmental Conservation said Friday that New York has agreed to delay enforcement as it fights a lawsuit in Albany County court, lodged by a manufacturer of plastic bags and by an association of 6,000 convenience store owners who call the ban unconstitutional.
Reactions mostly positive
“I’m thinking I got lucky, I didn’t have to pay for them, but I saw some woman buying Key Food reusable bags, yea, I’m gonna miss them, but I gotta get used to it I guess,” said Ray Suarez of Sheepshead Bay, who was shopping with his daughter Tiara at a local Key Food.
“I think they should keep the plastic bags, because not everybody wants to pay 5, 10 15 cents a for the bags when spending enough for food,” said Frank Gianni, of Gravesend, Brooklyn.
“There seems to be no rush to discard the plastic bags,” said Andrea Della Monica of Marine Park who emerged with plastic bags from Key Food. The employees in Key Food said they believe they were given an extension – however no one was being encouraged to use reusable bags.”
“I think if it helps our world, yes, we need to get rid of plastic bags so yes, I’m for it,” said Tamar Brown Dixon of Marine Park. “They may be using them (the plastic bags) up, but I brought my own. We will live longer and our animals seas and oceans are protected.”
“I think it’s inconvenient – sometimes you don’t have these and it’s a big pain in the neck – and now they charge you five cents,” said Ray Moore, resident of Flatlands shopping at CVS at Kings Plaza.
“We go to BJ’s and you put all food in basket and put it there, so we have a lot of bags, but yes, its a good thing for environment,” said Jim Doyle, shopping with his wife Pat of Marine Park at CVS with a reusable bag, adding, “We have about thousand bags home.”
“I’m okay with it – I’ve transitioned already to the reusable bags and they are easier to use and keep them in the car, but I guess it can be tough because they are going to charge people for bags,” said Patrice Porter of Flatbush shopping at Target at Erskine Street. “For me, I’m okay with it, environmentally that is what matters. The news said billions of bags are being used in New York, so we can do our part.”
Herb Lincoln looked at his receipt and found Target did not charge for the paper bag.
“It’s supposed to be litigated in courts, and it was delayed,” he said. “I know the bodegas trying to fight it, where is that 5 cents going anyway, back to the stores – free money.”
His partner Brentol Sampson however, said they should go further – “we should be giving more money for deposit bottles, then you wouldn’t have them being thrown in the trash – they would be recycled.”
In Queens there were almost all positive to ban plastic bags.
“I’ve been using this for a long time – I like to use the resuable and I’m trying to stay away from plastic – I don’t want to kill whales,” said Bill Zehngut of Sunnyside Queens shopping at C-Town in his neighborhood.
“I think it’s great because we are going to help the environment and also people are becoming aware how it all affects us all eventually,” said Katia Valdiviso of Sunnyside emerging from C-Town with a bag on wheels that she’s says, “I don’t have to carry – so much easier.
“They said today, we are finished with plastic bag – so they are just using them up,” said Samaranea Choudary shoppign at the Food Bazaar on Northern Blvd. “It’s good for plastic bags to be gone because they are causing a problem – we can use paper bags and then there is no problem.”
“Plastic should not be in the ocean hurts the animals,” said Mariel Crespo of Elmhurst shopping at Food Baazar. “It is not inconvenient – I keep them in my trunk and they are there when I go shopping.”
Nearby, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was kicking off in Sunnyside, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was celebrating the end of plastic bags as part of her “Green New Deal.
“We’re going to have to change some habits – we’re going to have to remember our reusable bags, but its going to be so helpful for our enviornment as we won’t have to see plastic bags in the trees. I’m looking forward to living in a cleaner New York,” she said.