NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Checking out at stores across New York could soon cost you more money.

The state’s ban on plastic bags goes into effect on Sunday, March 1.

There’s a single word the state will soon say to single use, carry out plastic bags: Goodbye.

Starting Sunday, they will be outlawed across New York.

The ban is aimed at reducing pollution, since experts say New York residents use 23 billion of them a year.

“It’s obvious that plastic bags, plastic in general, create a lot of problems for the environment,” one shopper said.

Shoppers will have to choose between bringing recyclable bags to stores or, depending on the region, pay five cents more for every paper bag they use.

Watch: Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia On Plastic Bag Ban

“I have two here and more at home. I’m ready,” said Nancy, an Upper West Side resident.

“I think if they’re going to charge for bags, they should charge more because I don’t think five cents will deter it,” one shopper said.

While some say the charge isn’t enough, others are trying to wrap their minds around how they will afford the extra charge.

“Really, no one is prepared,” said Tyishe Balance, a Soundview resident. “Nobody wants to pay extra money for bags. Nobody got extra money. What if you need that last five cents and you don’t have it because you paid for that bag?”

Local leaders say the ban could divide the state. Whereas more upscale neighborhoods are prepared, less affluent and minority communities are not, even though those on government assistance will get paper bags for free.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez think the city can help poor people transition to cloth or vinyl bags.

“Each council member should continue dedicating a percentage of the discretionary funding to provide free recycle bags,” he said.

While most stores will probably have alternative options to plastic bags available, keep in mind they’re not required to supply bags at all.

The president of Food Universe Marketplace in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx just stocked up on reusable bags. He plans to sell four of them for three dollars, not sure though if customers are prepared for the extra cost.

“It’s going to be a little hard in the beginning. It’s going to be harder for us in the beginning,” Rafael Amarante said.

Officials with the Department of Environment Conservation say ideally a bag should be washable and designed for multiple uses.

Some bags will be exempt from the ban including ones restaurants use to deliver food, bags used for uncooked meat or poultry, bulk items such as fruits and vegetables and dry clean or laundry service bags.

The ban will not be enforced aggressively right away, Dias reported. But eventually, businesses could face a find of up to $250 for a first violation and up to $500 for a repeat violation.

Lawmakers say the new regulations are meant to get people to switch to reusable bags.

Comments (4)
  1. Mark says:

    I’ve been carrying my own bag with me for many years. It’s my little contribution to the protection of the environment.

  2. Sandra says:

    “I use plastic bags for my indoor garbage. I wrap books etc to store in closet. Our generation has learned about recycling and most of have done that. Now we have to buy (plastic bags at dollah general to use. I use cloth bags when I go to the Farm Stand to avoid bruising of veggies. When comes to wally world their merchandise destroy my bags. You are punishing the middle class for following the rules

  3. S says:

    We’ve been using them for nearly a year in Ulster County and it’s no big deal. Actually, it is a huge relief because when you come home with groceries, you just fold up your bags and put them by the door for the next store run. There’s not trash being thrown out at home,either from the plastic bags. You don’t actually realize how much of your own time is saved by not taking out trash bags full of plastic bags. And you don’t have to spend a single penny on bags if you just use your brain.

  4. Terry M says:

    The biggest complainers are the careless ones.
    Too bad so many did not care to properly dispose of plastic bags. I have been using cloth bags for many years, and it is very easy to do.

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