Bag Waste Reduction Law: Information for Consumers

New Law in New York State could mean change for consumers

Title 28 for the New York State Bag Waste Reduction Act


Or could it? The Bag Waste Reduction law is, at its core, a means of intervention to prevent the spread of waste that can be seen throughout the state. “Plastic bags can be seen stuck in trees, as litter in our neighborhoods, and floating in our waterways. From the significant recycling and disposal issues they pose to the harm they can do to wildlife, the negative impacts of plastic bags are easily seen.” The Department of Environmental Conservation stated in an informational article for consumers. So the question persists- does this mean change for consumers?

 


Yes and no.

It’s true, this will mean that you have to bring a reusable bag with you to the store, but it’s the kind of store that makes all the difference. Starting March 1, 2020, all plastic carryout bags (other than an exempt bag) are banned from distribution by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax. (Consumers are encouraged to help out and “Bring Your Own Bag”)

The law will affect anyone required to collect New York State sales tax, bag manufacturers and consumers. Cities and counties will also be involved. Under the law:

  • cities and counties are authorized to adopt a five-cent carry-out bag reduction fee. This means that in these areas, a consumer will be charged 5 cents for each paper carryout bag needed at checkout. One way to avoid this fee and help the environment is to always bring your own bag.
  • stores covered under the NYS Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act will still be required to collect plastic bags and other film plastics from consumers for recycling. (Film plastics include items such as bread bags and plastic wraps that come over cases of water, paper towels and other similar items). As a consumer you can help by continuing to recycle these items at participating retailers.

What is an exempt bag?

‘Plastic carryout bag’ means any film plastic bag, other than an exempt bag, that is provided to a customer by a person required to collect tax to be used by the customer to carry tangible personal property, regardless of whether such person required to collect tax sells any tangible personal property or service to the customer, and regardless of whether any tangible personal property or service sold is exempt from tax under Article 28 of the New York State Tax Law.

‘Exempt bag’ means a bag that is:

  • Used solely to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish, seafood, poultry, or other unwrapped food, flower, or plant item;
  • Used by a customer solely to package items from bulk containers, including fruits, vegetables, grains, candy, small hardware items (such as nuts, bolts, and screws), live fish, or live insects;
  • Used solely to contain food sliced or prepared to order;
  • Used solely to contain a newspaper for delivery to a subscriber;
  • Sold in bulk quantities to a consumer at the point of sale that were specifically prepackaged in a manner to allow for bulk sale (for example, quantities of bags prepackaged in individual pre-sealed boxes) or prepackaged in individual boxes or containers for sale to a customer;
  • Sold as a trash bag;
  • Sold as a food storage bag, such as those in snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon sizes;
  • Used as a garment bag, such as those used by a dry cleaner or laundry service;
  • Provided by a restaurant, tavern, or similar food service establishment, as defined in the state sanitary code, to carry out or deliver food;
  • Provided by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs;
  • A reusable bag, as that term is defined in proposed Part 351 draft regulations; or
  • A film plastic bag for which there is no reasonable or practical alternative for storing, containing or transporting items, as determined by the department.

Those who frequent your local Walmart and Department need not worry- what do you think of the new law?


What Do You Think?