The state’s crackdown on plastic bags kicks off Sunday, but some Big Apple shoppers still had plenty of sour grapes about the new law the day before, ripping it as a lemon.
“It sucks!” raged Maritza Thristino, 54, Saturday as she walked out of Associated Market in Crown Heights. “Not good for old people, for disabled people. Where do you put your groceries if they’re not in a bag? So it sucks.”
Others see it as impractical.
“I reuse plastic bags, but the sustainability of something like that seems very hard in a city of 10 million people,” said Brian Burns, 42, as he loaded his plastic-bagged groceries into his car in East Flatbush. “I think it’s going to be hard to enforce.”
State officials agreed last week to hold off penalizing stores until April, after grocers filed an eleventh-hour lawsuit to block the law, which advocates tout as a win for the environment.
What is it?
Albany lawmakers passed legislation last March banning single use plastic bags at most retailers statewide. The law allows store owners to charge a 5-cent fee for each paper bag. Its goal is to protect wildlife and crack down on litter.
When does it start?
March 1, but the state won’t fine rulebreakers until April.
Which stores will be impacted?
All shops that collect sales tax on their products, including supermarkets and bodegas.
What’s the alternative?
Shoppers can carry their own reusable bags, buy one at the store, or cough up an extra 5 cents for a paper bag—though store owners are predicting a shortage of the substitute sacks when the ban begins. Plastic bags will still be allowed to tote raw meat, restaurant takeout, and prescription drugs.
Where does the 5 cents go?
Three cents will be given to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, while the remaining 2 cents is handed to local agencies.