This legislation blocks Suffolk County’s local law to reduce environmentally-damaging and costly plastic bag waste; it has been anonymously introduced by “Senator Rules.”
Following Governor Cuomo and the Legislature’s delay of New York City’s plastic bag reduction law in February, a statewide task force was created in order to identify a uniform plan; the task force includes state Senate representation. That task force has yet to produce a proposal. Instead of offering an alternative for local governments, or a statewide solution, his legislation continues to the trend of undermining local officials and consigning residents to live with disposable bag waste and its ill effects.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. Americans alone throw away over 100 billion bags annually, which amounts to about 550 tons of plastic shopping bags – about 90 percent of which go directly to landfills. They also place a unique burden on our wastewater infrastructure, at great cost to the taxpayer.
This bill amends county law to prohibit Suffolk County from establishing a fee on any disposable bag.