COVID-19 gave New Yorkers a reprieve from the plastic bag ban, but now that’s over. On Thursday the Department of Environmental Conservation won their lawsuit, and grocery stores and shops will now have to abide by the plastic bag ban.

D.E.C. Commissioner, Basil Seggos said, “The court's decision is a victory and a vindication of New York State’s efforts to end the scourge of single use plastic bags and a direct rebuke to the plastic bag manufacturers who tried to stop our law”.

The law banning the use of plastic bags was initially passed and legally took effect on March 1. Because of COVID-19, and the fear of reusable bags spreading the virus, the law was not being enforced.

Poly-Pak Industries, a bag manufacturing company located on Long Island, filed a claim to have the law repealed. Acting Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Connolly rejected the case. Justice Connolly stated that the case lacked merit.

Justice Connolly ruled that certain parts of the D.E.C. regulations were in conflict with the state's law dealing with the types of bags that are allowed. Therefore, smaller bags, such as bags used for produce, are not included in the ban.

The D.E.C. Commissioner stated that he would begin the process of giving stores and businesses a 30 day notice to begin enforcing the ban.

Under the law, businesses may charge customers five cents per bag if they request a plastic bag for their items. The business is permitted to keep two cents and the remaining three cents will go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Personally, I intend to reduce the amount of plastic bags I pay for. I will just have to get used to washing my reusable bags after each use.

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