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One week until plastic bag ban is in place in New York

Posted at 1:24 PM, Feb 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-23 13:24:25-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) (WKBW) — The ban on single-use plastic bags in New York State is just a week away on March 1st.

The ban is part of the state's efforts to reduce its plastic footprint. The average American family takes home nearly 1,500 of these bags every year but according to Waste Management, only 1% of them are returned for recycling.

In the New York State Budget, the paper bag reduction fee allows individual counties to 'opt in' to charge a $0.05 fee on paper bags. 40 percent of that money would support local programs to buy reusable bags for people with low or fixed incomes. The other 60 percent would go to the state's environmental protection fund.

Wegmans phased out the single-use plastic bags in its stores January 27th.

According to Wegmans, the grocery store will charge a fee of five cents per paper bag used, and the money collected from the paper bag fee will go towards FeedMore WNY.

Tops Friendly Markets previously told 7 Eyewitness News it plans to eliminate the single-use bags March 1st.

"As it stands today our shoppers have a wide selection of bags to choose from including our reusable bags and our Tops Totes for Change bags where a portion of the proceeds go back to local charities in the community. When the law goes into effect in March we will continue to offer our customers paper bag options for five cents with a portion of the proceeds going back to local charities that are in alignment with our mission of eradicating hunger and improving the lives of children," said Tops Spokeswoman Kathy Sautter in a statement.

7 Eyewitness News took a closer look at how other stores will be dealing the ban in late January.

To try and clear up some of the questions and concerns over the ban, 7EWN also spoke with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

For further information you can visit the DEC's website here.