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Single-use plastic bags will be banned from New York State next year, what is a paper bag's fate?

Posted at 9:16 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 21:16:53-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The ban on single-use plastic bags is a done deal. But the debate over an additional tax on paper bags is just getting started.

"If we ban plastic and go right to paper we are really not doing good work," Assemblyman Sean Ryan said. "We are just trading one unsustainable bag for another."

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

On Tuesday, Erie county's minority caucus created a resolution opposing the $0.05 paper bag tax. Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz said he needs to look more into the legislation to have an opinion.

While Erie County Legislator John Mills is against the additional tax.

"It's another burden to the tax payers in Erie County," Mills said. "It's going to impact the price of food and goods that come out of grocery stores and convenient stores to the general public."

The bill doesn't ban plastic completely:
Plastic bags that are exempt from the ban include:
-The plastic bags that contain meat, poultry, fish, produce, grains and candy
-Deli meat bags
-Newspaper bags
-Trash bags
-Shopping bags
-Take out bags at restaurants

Reusable or cloth bags are some alternatives people can use while shopping.