LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Saggos announced two new programs on Tuesday.
With the help of state money, the DEC purchased 225,000 reusable bags. The bags will be distributed to food banks across the state to help off set the new costs of purchasing a bag to use for groceries.
New Yorkers use 23 billion plastic bags annually, and according to the DEC, 85% end up in a landfill.
New regulations on plastic bags make it just about impossible for pure plastic bags to be used by stores. The minimum thickness for all plastic bags would need to be 10 mil. A mil is a unit of measurement that is one-thousandth of an inch.
Commissioner Seggos says that there is no manufacturer that makes a bag that thick, and he believes that due to costs, no one will make such a bag.
The second announcement was that $4.3 million will be given out in small grants to help food banks across the state purchase new equipment and help maintain vehicles. Grants are also going to education programs on purchasing smaller amounts of food.
These purchases will help reduce food waste and allow for more food to be rescued and made available for food banks.