New York Governor To Include Plastic Bag Ban In Budget

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ROCHESTER, NY (Associated Press & WXXI)  Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said his upcoming executive budget would include a proposal to ban single-use plastic bags in New York state.

Cuomo said his budget, which he is scheduled to release Tuesday, would also include a proposal to make most non-alcoholic bottles eligible for a 5-cent redemption.

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Cuomo, a Democrat, called the bag ban a “bold action” that would “create a cleaner and greener New York for all.”

“While the federal government is taking our environmental progress backwards and selling out our communities to polluters and oil companies, in New York we are moving forward with the nation’s strongest environmental policies and doing everything in our power to protect our natural resources for future generations,” he said.

He said any initiative would include exemptions where appropriate.

Cuomo had first proposed a ban last April after he and lawmakers in 2017 blocked a proposed plastic bag fee from going into effect in New York City. At the time, Cuomo said his concern was over the monies raised by the fee going to store owners instead of environmental causes.

For the bottle bill proposal, Cuomo’s expansion would add bottles for sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffee to the list of those that can be redeemed.

Wegmans did not have an immediate reaction to the latest proposal from Cuomo, but when it came up last April, a manager of sustainability with the company said that a plastic bag ban does not address the likely increase in the use of paper bags.

He said that paper bags are heavier and take up more space, which increases the number of trucks needed to transport grocery bags.

Wegmans position outlined at that time was that increasing the use of reusable bags is the best way to reduce the number of paper and plastic bags being used. The company also noted that its plastic bags are made from 40 percent recycled plastic.

A final budget in negotiation with the state Legislature is supposed to be passed by April 1.