NEW YORK STATE (NEWS10) — On Monday, New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation will start cracking down on businesses still using plastic bags, violating a law that went into effect in March.
Shoppers are encouraged to bring reusable bags to the store that can be easily cleaned. Some stores will make paper bags available for those that come empty-handed, but in some municipalities, that means a $0.05 fee.
Stewarts Shops will be charging $0.05 at all their stores. In localities where there is no tax voted into law, the money will go to their own expenses. But in Albany County, for example, where legislators approved the paper bag tax, the money goes to New York State.
Albany County Legislator Mark Grimm (R) was disappointed in the outcome of the vote, with all “yes” votes coming from Democrats.
“The last thing we should be doing right now is sending money to the state, when we’re relying on them to just live up to their part of the bargain when it comes to aid,” Grimm told NEWS10.
However, Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, who has shown outspoken support for the plastic bag ban since its inception, thinks the paper bag tax is a good way to get people to bring a reusable bag with them.
“That $0.05 fee, while it doesn’t seem like a lot,” Fahy told News10, “it does change behaviors.”
The money will go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, and toward a fund to provide reusable bags to low-income New Yorkers.
New Yorkers who receive SNAP benefits will not have to pay the fee.
Businesses that are found in violation of the plastic bag ban will face warnings and monetary fines.