NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s a new green deal for New Yorkers as Governor Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have agreed to ban the use of plastic bags from one end of the state to the other.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says he favors an option to go even more green by charging city residents five cents for brown paper bags.
The way New Yorkers shop is about to drastically change, as Cuomo and state lawmakers say “no more plastic bags for you.”
“I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been waiting for it for a long time. I’m tired of having to recycle them,” Midtown resident Louise Sharakan said.
“I hate to have to throw the bags out because they give you so many bags. So I bring my own,” said Nair Bonet.
“Man, that’s not good. That’s not good,” said Joseph Boakye of the Bronx.
“I hate it. I use them all the time, believe it or not, in my apartment. I don’t have a space for garbage. I hang them by the door and I use them for garbage,” said Midtown resident Glen Wiehl.
“So what are you going to do?” CBS2’s Marcia Kramer asked.
“I’m stocking up now,” he said.
Love it or leave it, the state plans to ban plastic bags by next March.
“It’s an idea whose time is well past,” said St. Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach). Kaminsky sponsored the bill. “Every year, there are billions – billions with a ‘b’ – of bags that are thrown away after just one use. The average plastic bag use is about 12 minutes… we just have this disposable plastic craze and it is adding up.”
That’s not all. Localities will have the option to sock people who ask for brown paper bags with a 5 cent fee. Mayor Bill de Blasio says bring it on – he’s all for change.
“I do believe that we have to get away from paper bags, too, so I want to see the details of how it would be structured,” de Blasio said. “We need to get away from paper bags. If a fee would do it, I could support that.”
“This is to go not from plastic to paper but from plastic to reusable,” Kaminsky said.
The ban, which will be part of the state budget, will have so-called “carve outs.” You can still get plastic carry out bags for food, get your dry cleaning in plastic bags, and at the supermarket, you can still put your fruits and vegetables in plastic bags, and buy meat, fish and poultry in plastic containers.
While there’s not a lot of pushback about getting rid of plastic, the charge for paper sacks is another matter.
“I think it’s too much, and I think everyone should just got out and get a bag,” said Midtown resident Jay Conroy. “There’s enough expense here in New York City. We certainly don’t need that.”
“Horrible. Horrible. They should put the money into the transit system,” Wiehl said.
Revenue from the sale of the brown paper bags will be split.
“At the city level, there’s a 60-40 split, where 60 percent goes to the state and 40 percent will remain with the county, to help buy reusable bags and deal with the plastic pollution and paper problem,” Kaminsky said.
De Blasio wants to make sure low income people get help obtaining reusable bags.
“What we have to add to the equation is phasing these things out by helping people get reusable bags,” de Blasio said.
The plastic bag ban will go into effect next March.
De Blasio says he’s going to work on a plan to help people get reusable bags.