Plastic bag ban to still go into effect

The Island Now
County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton and Bruce Kennedy use reusable tote bags when they shop in advance of the statewide plastic bag ban. (Photo courtesy of the office of Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton)

Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D – Glen Cove) reminds residents that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin enforcing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags starting on Oct. 19.

Initially slated to go into effect on March 1, implementation of the ban, which impacts almost all plastic carry-out bags, was delayed by a lawsuit from plastics manufacturers and the COVID-19 pandemic. Key elements of the ban were upheld by the New York State Supreme Court in an August ruling, clearing the way for the law to be enforced.

Exemptions allow the use of plastic bags for prescription medication, fruits and vegetables, uncooked meat, seafood and poultry, cold cuts and other specified uses. Retailers that distribute products sold in plastic bags, such as cases of water, paper towels, bread bags and produce bags, will continue to be required to accept plastic bags and other film plastics for recycling.

“While I completely understand how convenient plastic bags are, this small lifestyle change is well worth making because it will have such a positive impact on the environment,” Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton said. “I myself have to go back to my car to get my bags more times than I would like to admit, but it’s something we have to do to protect the future for ourselves and our children.”

According to the DEC, New Yorkers uses about 23 billion bags each year. By making the commitment to switch to reusable bags is a simple step that residents can take if they want to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Widespread adherence will result in a huge positive environmental impact in the months and years to come.

The plastic bag ban also gives Nassau County and other New York State jurisdictions the option to implement a five-cent fee for the use of disposable paper bags. Nassau County’s Legislature Majority has thus far declined to implement this change aimed at reducing disposable bag use.

For more information on the DEC’s #BYOBagNY initiative, visit And, as always, please feel free to contact Legislator DeRiggi-Whitton’s office with questions about this new law or any other topic at 516-571-6211 or

Submitted by the office of Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton)

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