NY lawmakers hope ‘awareness’ will lessen backlash on plastic bag ban

New York News

GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Starting March 1, consumers in New York will need to bring their own bags to shopping establishments. Lawmakers met at Crossgates Mall on Friday to make clear that the law won’t just apply to grocery and convenience stores.

Assemblymember Patricia Fahy led the press conference, saying she’s trying to get ahead of what may be a tough transition for many consumers who are used to getting a plastic bag when they shop at department, clothing, and electronics stores.

“What we are trying to do is avoid the backlash by raising awareness,” Fahy told NEWS10 ABC.

Retailers, along with grocers, will be expected to comply with the new law as New York works to improve its environmental impact.

According to Fahy, New York uses 23 billion single-use plastic bags each year.

Stewart’s Shops is embracing the new law with branded reusable bags already on their shelves. However, a spokesperson for the locally-based chain says their customers are hesitant about the changes.

“They love Stewart’s bags, the old bags, because they were better quality than your typical plastic bag. So it’s funny. We do have a statement, ‘This is it a collectors item. Please reuse me,’ so we encourage our customers to reuse their plastic bags that they may have from previous Stewart’s visits,” Erica Komoroske, Stewart’s spokesperson said.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation will be the primary enforcer of the ban. Fahy says they’re expecting a slow start for many businesses to comply.

“I think it’s going to take at least a month or more,” Fahy said. “And that’s why DEC recognizes that there will be a trial run and do some warnings first.”

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