(PC: Wikimedia Commons)

PC: Wikimedia Commons

New York Banning Plastic Bags Starting March 2020

December 9, 2019

Environmentalists have always been advocating for creative ways to save the environment. However, in the past, there has been nothing done about the use of plastic bags in our daily lives. Luckily, in March 2020, a new plastic bag ban will take place in New York. This new policy will force stores to cease the supply of single-use plastic bags. Counties will also have the option to impose a five-cent fee on all paper bags sold, which would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. 

Plastic bags have always been crucial objects impacting our environment. All plastic is non-biodegradable, or unable to be decomposed by living organisms. Instead, plastic degrades and breaks down into small, toxic pieces. These particles then pollute the soil and waterways and enter into food chains when organisms consume them. As we eat these animals that ingest plastic and the chemicals associated with it, we too begin to absorb these toxins. 

Plastic litters and destroys the oceans. Almost 90% of all debris in oceans is due to plastic particles. In some areas, there is 46 times more plastic than food available for marine animals, leading to the death of over 100,000 sea turtles and other marine animals each year. 

Despite their dreadful impact on our environment, people continue to use plastic bags. Many people consider them convenient as they are durable and easy to carry items in, whether grocery shopping or picking up a takeout delivery. The issue lies in how long people will reuse plastic bags after arriving home. “When we get plastic bags, we reuse them for other stuff- they definitely don’t just go to waste,” explained Carrie Ortner ’19 on her family’s use of plastic bags. Although some try to reuse these bags, many people are not putting in the effort that is needed. On average, a plastic bag is used for only twelve minutes. Through the new ban, fewer plastic bags will be used state-wide and less plastic will be accumulated in our environment.

California and Hawaii have already successfully banned disposable plastic bags. As New York plans to do the same, hopefully, more states and governments will follow in the same footsteps to create a more eco-friendly country.

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