Supporters of March 1 plastic bag ban say more publicity is needed
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Charlie Olver, Policy Associate for NYPIRG and student at SUNY New Paltz
Charlie Olver, Policy Associate for NYPIRG and student at SUNY New Pal
Photo: Karen DeWitt

The ban on single use plastic bags at supermarkets and other shops takes effect in just over a month, on March 1st. Supporters say the state’s environmental agency has not done enough to prepare the public for the shift.

After March 1st, New Yorkers will need to get into the habit of bringing reusable bags with them to the grocery store and to other retailers like Target and Walmart.

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy says she’s been informally surveying the shops she frequents and finds there’s a lack of awareness about the upcoming change. She says a larger public relations effort is needed.

“I expect we are going to have a lot of pushback in the first three weeks,” said Fahy. “We’re going to probably get some negative feedback those first few weeks as we try to transition.”

Supporters say Governor Cuomo’s environmental agency needs to do more in the next month to get the word out.

Liz Moran, with the New York Public Interest Research Group, and a backer of the ban, predcits once people adapt, they’ll like it better than using plastic.

“These laws are wildly popular once they are implemented,” Moran said.

The state’s largest grocery store chains, including Wegmans, Hannaford and Price Chopper HAVE taken steps to get ready. Wegmans already eliminated plastic bags as of January 27th, and charges 5 cents per paper bag. The other two chains will begin charging for paper bags in March.