The Big Apple, as well as the rest of the state of New York, has started an ambitious plan to move away from plastic bags. We applaud the New York plastic bag ban and say thank you New York, you rock!
The New York plastic bag ban is a great start
New York State alone uses more than 23 billion (!) plastic bags each and every year. It kind of gives you an idea of the immense scope of the plastic production and consumption in our world.
The amazing and vibrant city of New York is home to roughly 8,5 million people and, quite naturally, both littering and waste management are two very challenging areas of interest. The NYS Department for Environmental Conservation is well aware of the fact and has implemented a bag waste reduction law. As New York is and always has been a trend setting city, this is great news for the environment, as the New York plastic bag ban will hopefully inspire many other cities around the world.
What exactly is the New York ban on plastic bags?
The NY plastic bag ban is a new part of the of Article 27 of the Environmental Conservation Law and focuses on the reduction, reuse and recycling of plastic bags. More specifically, it defines and explains the concepts behind:
- the prohibition on plastic carryout bags
- the allowable reusable bags
- the recycling of plastic carryout bags and film plastic by stores
- and the regulations addressing the related manufacturer requirements
All in all, it’s a pretty broad and substantial law that will bring about real change, once it’s up and running! And it’s extremely smart to start at the source; the plastic manufacturing industry and the retailers. We have to stop using plastics for everything we produce and sell. If we do that and find reusable and eco-friendly alternatives, than we will not have to buy and consume plastic packaging anymore either. But it definitely has to start on the suppliers’ end.
Why the NY plastic bag ban is needed
Not only will the New York plastic bag ban contribute to a cleaner city environment, as plastic bags are the absolute number one pollutant in NYC’s streets, but it will also decrease the plastic pollution of the oceans!
Annually, more than 100 billion plastic bags a year are used in America alone, which equals 1500 plastic shopping bags per American household. Out of those, only 1% are returned for recycling purposes. 80% of the plastic in the ocean enters it from land (rivers). As NYC is a coastal city, a lot of plastic finds its way into the ocean via the coastlines and the mighty Hudson River.
Related article: UK to Stop Exporting Plastic Waste to Developing Countries
New York plastic bag ban and #BYOBagNY
A large scale project like this one needs a proper information campaign and the NY State department for Environmental Conservation has done a very decent job here! They have run enormous social media campaigns, provided a lot of printed material, such as flyers and posters, and created the popular #BYOBagNY, which currently makes its rounds on Twitter and Facebook.
With information and reminder campaigns like these, the people of New York will have an easy time adjusting to this change and sooner rather than later, the New York plastic bag ban will be regarded as something natural in people’s everyday lives. It’s exactly the way such changes should be introduced and carried out. It’s all about creating that “we feeling”, as the New Yorkers will have to think of this as their project and that it is their own efforts that save the environment.
This way, the New York ban on plastic bags will be regarded as a positive and fun thing from the beginning, something that will help to change society faster, and in a more natural way. Switching to reusable bags and packaging is a great first step towards a circular economy, and the people will embrace it, because they see the benefits in this shift as well.
Currently, only 9% of plastic packaging worldwide is recycled. The New York plastic bag ban will inspire other cities, regions and countries to follow suit and will hence increase this number in a foreseeable future. It will start with plastic bags and packaging, but it won’t stop there! All Good Newz says Kudos and applauds all New Yorkers for taking this awesome step. You rock!
Feature image and BYOBag images property of and provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation