Governor Cuomo is now considering a ban on single-use plastic bags. New York does have a plastic bag reduction, reuse, and recycling act that requires certain sized stores to collect and recycle used plastic bags, plastic wraps, and films. The overall goal is to lessen the impact on the environment.
The act doesn’t appear to be working well enough, so individual counties are imposing a fee on single-use plastic bags. William Rabbia, the Executive Director Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority believes the problem really needs to be researched.
"There’s conflicting data on both sides of the equation. You know is plastic better than paper? Is paper better than plastic? So the one certain thing is it would help our recycling center operation, but is it going to help the environment as a whole? I think we’re going to wait and see what the State comes up with."
The problem from a recycling standpoint is the bags get wound up in a machine making it impossible to continue the recycling process.
Recycling the bags is only one part of the equation. Remember some Counties are charging a per-bag fee. Where is that fee going, and is it a good idea to have different rules for each County?
"It shouldn’t be a shotgun effect. It should be done on a State or larger region because how many sets of rules do you want."
Bill Chanatry is the owner of local grocery store Chanatry’s Supermarkets. He’s not opposed a ban on single-use plastic bags, but believes if people just followed the law already on the books and recycled, like they’re supposed to, there wouldn’t need to be a ban.
"I mean that would be a solution, as opposed to brute forcing, and then they’re going to charge people. If we have to sell them, that’s just adding to a price, and these are the kind of little nuisances that have not been thought through."
One last thing to remember: paper and plastic aren’t your only options. There’s always cloth bags and they can be used over and over.