The death of the plastic bag

Customer stands in front of FINE FARE on E. Tremont Ave. in Throggs Neck. The plastic bag ban will become effective March 1st.
Photo by Kyle Vuille/Schneps Media

The plastic bag ban might not be on everyone’s immediate stream of thought at the moment, but on March 1, it will affect all of New York.

I think it’s hard for New Yorkers to conceptualize the plastic bag ban because the bags have just become another part of the ‘scenery’ of New York.

There are very few places within the city where you don’t see a plastic bag floating around in the breeze.

I hope that everyone will encourage such an action because who doesn’t want to help the environment?

It seems more common than ever people are using their own bags at the grocery store in this eco-friendly day and age anyways.

In the past couple years, I’ve seen clusters of Aldi (German based company) grocery stores pop up all across America.

They do not use plastic and you pay 10 cents a bag so if you forget your own bags at home, there is always an option.

Other grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have also joined the plastic free commitment early on.

I think like many things in life, there will be a learning curve.

At the moment, Department of Sanitation as well as individual civic groups are handing out reusable grocery tote bags.

New York State Law considers a bag “reusable” if the bag is capable of carrying 22 lbs. over 175 feet (minimum) for 125 uses. The bag must be made of cloth or other machine washable fabric or a durable plastic at 10 mils thick.

For reference, 10 mils thick in plastic would be the equivalent of 10 sheets of paper. The plastic bags being phased out are .5 mils.

From my understanding, the ban will be lenient because it will take time to phase out the already existing plastic bags at stores.

Some folks may be asking themselves questions like ‘what am I going to use to pick up my dog’s waste with?’

One of my coworkers, who relies on public transportation, questioned if new paper bags would have handles like the plastic ones, to carry groceries on the way home.

A lot of the issues and questions coming from the discussion seem trivial, but old habits die fast.

Better be safe than sorry, keep a bag on you just in case.


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