Beginning March 1, 2020, the Bag Waste Reduction law went into affect in NYC. Although I’d been following the law as it went through it’s early stages in the legislation process, so much had been going on in the past couple of weeks that it completely slipped my mind when March 1st actually rolled around.
But once all the craziness was subdued, it took actually seeing this legislation in action in two stores for me to realize the amazingness that had finally taken place:
NO MORE PLASTIC BAGS IN NEW YORK CITY!
This new law doesn’t only affect those in the five boroughs, it applies to any retailer that collects New York State taxes.
And so, W O W.
I’m so exited and happy to be living during a time where veganism is bursting through the seams of major corporations and where taking care of our ecosystem is becoming part of the law.
However, this thought was also accompanied by the horrific realization that the massive amount of destruction we’ve done to our home has also taken place in my lifetime, and we are now in the early stages of damage control.
But I won’t linger on the bad news…
This is a truly gratifying time to be alive and I can’t wait to see the stats that will undoubtedly pop-up after this new law has been in place for awhile, regarding how much less plastic waste is in our city. No more gross bags hanging high in tree branches, or floating in our natural waterways or in the parks. So much less waste in landfills. And realistically, I think a lot of people may simply not purchase as much as they were before because they don’t have the ease of plastic bags.
However, that last one could be a blessing and a curse— without as many purchases, there could be something in store to try to lure people into opening up their wallets as much as they previously did. But let’s look on the bright side— maybe another stimulus package is on the way? 🙂
Another benefit that is admittedly quite personal, but still great nonetheless, will be not feeling slightly weird when bringing all my reusables to the grocery store. Although it didn’t bother that much, I would feel slightly weird and as if all eyes were on me when I’d take extra time packing my own groceries into bags instead of letting the store staff pack the stuff for me quickly and swiftly into plastic bags. Not anymore!
And finally, another eco friendly tip for all the folks out there, but especially my fellow NYC dwellers— while you’re stocking up on reusable bags, purchase some reusable produce bags as well! I’ve had my produce bags for some time now, and have barely used them (eeek!), but now? It’s gonna be a fruit and veggie bonanza in here!
Not only are reusable produce bags another great way to reduce plastic, they also help solve a problem that hasn’t yet found a solution in all groceries and markets because in-store (plastic!) produce bags are still-a-go. Additionally, there are many types of plastic bags that are exempt from the new law. Boo. But baby steps are better than no steps.
While briefly discussing the new “no plastic” policy with my mom, she mentioned that using good old paper bags is how they used to carry groceries “back in the day”. I excitedly exclaimed “I know!” A bit later, it truly sank in— although there are many things I wouldn’t want to bring back from past decades, the simpler, cleaner ways that some tasks were carried out are certainly welcome back.
I can’t wait to see what other eco friendly things the city will come up with!
Please visit the Department of Environmental Conservation for more information and for outreach resources regarding the Bag Waste Reduction law.
Plastic bag garbage image courtesy of Juan Pablo via Pexels.com
Plastic wasteland image courtesy of Stijn Dijkstra via Pexels.com