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Cuomo pushing for a greener NY with plastic bag ban, bottle bill expansion

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out the 2019 State of the State and budget proposal on Tuesday, and with it comes a call to ban single-use plastic bags and push for people to recycle more.

Posted: Jan 16, 2019 11:01 AM
Updated: Jan 16, 2019 11:01 AM

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out the 2019 State of the State and budget proposal on Tuesday, and with it comes a call to ban single-use plastic bags and push for people to recycle more.

For some it's convenient, and for others the bags come in handy after the shopping is done.

"You go in there and the next thing you know, like I said, you buy way too much than what you expected," said Eugene Militillo, a Marcy resident shopping at Price Chopper in North Utica. "Then you end up using a plastic because you don't want to run out to the car, and get the bags and come back in,"

Some residents, like Linda Renodin of Utica, using plastic bags while shopping can be reused for household necessities – like for small garbage bins.

But Cuomo wants to ban plastic bags from many retail stores, or anywhere plastic bags are used.

Kevin Hughes, the owner of City Liquors in South Utica said the ban might not be the best solution.

"We go through thousands of plastic bags a week, so it would be the same on paper," he said. "If we offer them to customers that we ban plastic we would again after thousands of paper to customers."

Jamie Tuttle, recycling educator at Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority said if a plastic bag ban does go through, it would make things much more efficient at the recycling center.

"As plastic bags and other plastic bags accumulate they get wound and tangled around our sorting equipment," she said. "As that builds up what can happen is ... our equipment won't sort correctly, and then during our breaks during the day we have a mechanics have to go in and actually cut out all the plastic film that gets wound and tangled. Plastic grocery bags that are thrown in the trash, they're light, they blow if you lose one in the wind, they create a litter. So it would also help in that aspect too."

The plastic bag ban must still be approved by state Legislature, which is in Democratic control for the first time in a decade.

Another proposal by the governor is to add more bottles to the list of items that can be redeemed for a deposit.

Cuomo’s bottle bill expansion would include sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable beverages, and ready-to-drink bottled tea and coffee.

Some exceptions would be plastic containers for milk, medical prescriptions and dietary supplements.

Cuomo said the bill would promote recycling and reduce litter, protect water and create a greener New York.

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