Lawmakers in New York just agreed to ban plastic bags across the state. The law is a part of a larger budget agreement and makes New York the second state in the United States to join the fight against single-use plastics.

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“I am proud to announce that together, we got it done,” Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, stated.

The ban on plastic bags will officially start on March 1 of next year. In addition to ditching plastic bags, businesses within the state will be allowed to charge up to five cents for every paper bag. Two cents from that charge will go into a fund that enables low-income families to purchase reusable bags, while the remainder will go towards an environment fund.

Related: EU moves forward with its plastic ban

The only other state in the union to pass such a law is California, which initiated a ban back in 2016. Hawaii has also gone to great lengths to discourage the use of plastic bags, with most counties in the state prohibiting them.

This is not the first time New York has attempted to ban plastic bags. Two years ago, politicians tried to pass a law that would force companies to charge customers five cents per bag. That initiative was blocked by Cuomo. In 2018, Republicans in the state blocked a similar plan, though Democrats picked up a few seats in the state legislature, making the most recent ban possible.

While the new law is a big step towards curbing plastic waste, not all residents in New York are happy about it. In fact, a few people have expressed their concerns about the ban and claim they use the plastic bags at home. Environmentalists also believe that customers should not be allowed to buy paper bags instead of purchasing reusable ones.

There has also been some backlash from grocery stores in New York. While some owners are in favor of the ban, they think a portion of the five-cent charge should go back to the stores to help with costs associated with banning plastic bags.

Via Eco Watch

Image via cocoparisienne