Image: Michael Kowalczyk via Flickr.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, passed by state lawmakers last April, goes into effect on March 1, 2020. Grocery stores and other retail establishments that collect state taxes from customers will no longer be permitted to use the familiar garden-variety plastic bags to contain purchases at checkout counters. Few argue in favor of their use: they aren’t biodegradable, cause major pollution, and kill wildlife. But we’re used to their presence, so our everyday errands may be affected, no matter how minor or worthy the change. What are the exceptions to the no-bag rule? What are our alternatives? What do we hope to accomplish by banishing plastic bags? For those answers and more, read on.