Plastic carryout bags are now banned from distribution in New York State.

How helpful is New York’s Plastic Bag Ban?

New York State put into effect a new plastic bag ban on March 1 that aims to reduce high levels of plastic consumption and mitigate environmental hazards, such as water and air pollution from plastic disposal. The new ban prohibits any distribution of plastic bags by any establishment that collects New York State tax unless it is an exempt bag — bags used for pharmacy prescriptions or produce bags used for fruits and vegetables. Although many states like New York have policies in place to limit the overuse of single-use plastics, the production of plastic still continues to be a looming issue. It is projected that by 2028, the mass production of plastics will increase by more than 40 percent. “Until we are talking about limiting plastic production, we still are going to be pushing the problem around into different places without really addressing what’s going on here,” said Ph.D. student Bethany Jorgensen, department of natural resources.