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New York’s plastic bag ban starts this week — here’s what you need to know


Plastic bags are getting sacked!

The new state law banning single-use plastic bags goes into effect across New York on Sunday. Here’s why it’s happening — and what shoppers should expect.

What’s going on?

A new rule passed by Albany last March bans plastic bags at most stores and allows retailers to impose a 5-cent fee on shoppers for paper bags. It starts March 1, 2020.


The legislation aims to reduce litter and help protect wildlife in the Empire State, where more than 23 billion plastic bags are used a year, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Which stores will be affected?

All shops that collect sales tax, including grocery stores, bodegas and retailers in the Empire State.

What isn’t affected?

Plastic bags can still be doled out for uncooked meat, bulk items, takeout at restaurants and prescription drugs.

What can shoppers do instead?

Bring your own reusable bag made from cotton, recycled polypropylene or other materials. You can also buy one at some stores, or pay the extra 5-cent fee for a paper sack. That’s if one is available — retailers are predicting a shortage when the ban hits.

Where does the 5 cents go?

Two cents is given to local government and 3 cents goes to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.


This article was originally published on

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