Plastic bag loophole thwarts ban


Plastic bags in the Price Chopper check out

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Over 60 environmental conservation groups are calling for plastic bag regulations to follow to the spirit of recent laws intended to cut down on carbon emissions.

Advocates argue that bag restrictions should limit plastic proliferation, but cite a provision allowing thicker plastic bags as a source of concern. This loophole, pushed by lobbyists, undermines a single-use plastic bag ban by allowing sale of different bags.

The exception allows stores and plastic producers to classify thicker, more expensive plastic bags as reusable even though consumers throw them away as often. Still made from fossil fuels, they can be used up to 125 times before disintegrating.

In a letter to legislators on Friday, activist groups will also voice concerns over increased use of paper bags.

The public comment period on proposed bag regulations closes February 3 before the law takes effect March 1.

The letter from environmental groups comes on the heels of Monday’s announcement by lawmakers from seven states in the northeast. On January 27, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York—spearheaded by Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy—announced a coordinated push to transition to a zero-waste, plastic-free environmental model.

The united effort to break free from the impact of plastic pollution on wildlife, human health, and the environment targets bottles, straws, polystyrene, and other plastics besides bags.

So far this year, these seven states have proposed 76 plastic reduction measures. Last year, legislators across the country introduced over 220 bills to reduce single-use plastics.


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