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Plastic bag ban takes effect across New York state

Posted: Updated:

New York's ban on plastic bags officially began Sunday.

Shoppers can either bring their own reusable bags or pay 5 cents for a paper bag.

The Department of Sanitation says New York residents and visitors use about 10 billion single-use bags a year. They say almost all of those bags end up in the garbage, which is bad for the environment.

To make the transition easier, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Department of Sanitation handed out over 200,000 reusable bags in New York over the past two months. Bags have also been given out at community events and are in stores for purchase.

Businesses are seeing a mixed bag of people who remembered to bring a reusable bag and those who didn't.

"Some of them are already prepared and a lot of them are already coming in but then leaving their bags in the car," says store manager Carlos Fernandez. "They aren't used to bringing them in the store."

He says about 75% of shoppers were prepared and 25% had no idea what was going on.

While Fernandez says there were not too many complaints, some residents admit that it is a little frustrating.

"I think it's silly but I have to along with it," says Michelle Saverino.

The plastic bags that are used for prescriptions and fruits and vegetables are still available at no cost.

The 5-cent fee does not apply to New York residents enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program for Women, Infants and Children.


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