Sen. Alesi Calls For Phase Out Of Plastic Shopping Bags

James S. Alesi

March 29, 2007

Senator Jim Alesi (R-Perinton) today talked about his proposed legislation that will ask businesses that use non biodegradable plastic shopping bags to begin phasing them out in favor of more eco-friendly alternatives.

"We need only to look in any tree or bush on any street and we will see a plastic bag hanging from branches," said Senator Alesi. "Other countries, most notably in Europe, do not use plastic bags because of their detriment to the environment. Some progressive stores are also beginning to realize the harm these bags can do and have begun offering canvas bags that consumers can purchase and re-use each time they shop. I think it is time for New York to begin phasing out the use of plastic bags in favor of alternatives that are bio-degradable or reusable."

The proposed legislation that is currently being drafted would give businesses until December 31, 2010 to reduce their usage by fifty percent. Businesses would then be required to discontinue their use of non biodegradable plastic bags by December 31, 2012. There will be no penalties attached to the first phase of the push to reduce the use of plastic bags, but after the 2012 deadline, the state may take "cease and desist" action against retailers that still utilize the non biodegradable bags.

"Currently there are a few alternatives available for businesses to begin using; such as brown paper bags and biodegradable plastic bags, as well as canvas or net bags," said Senator Alesi. "The time has come for all of New York to join those who are realizing the environmental impact of plastic bags and begin utilizing better alternatives."