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New York lawmakers reach deal to ban plastic bags in 2020

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The third state to ban the bags

Governor Cuomo Renews Call For Plastic Bag Ban In New York State Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

New York governor Andrew Cuomo and the legislative leaders have announced that they have reached an agreement on the state’s 2020 budget, a provision of which includes a ban on single-use plastic bags, making it the third state to adopt such legislation.

Lawmakers will vote on the budget deal later today. The provision will effectively ban the single-use plastic bags that are found in grocery stores, which often make their way into waterways and oceans. The New York Times says that the ban goes into effect in March 2020, and will prohibit stores from providing the bags to customers, although there are some exceptions, like bags for newspapers, wrapping produce or meat, and take-out. The provision also allows cities and counties to opt-in to a 5-cent fee for paper bags, with revenue from that fund subsidizing reusable bags for low-income customers and to the State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

California became the first state to ban the bags in 2014, with the goal of reducing the number of bags that were making their way into the ocean and into landfills. Hawaii followed suit a year later when a ban went into place on Oahu, following other restrictions on other islands.