New York Governor Andrew Cuomo plans a statewide education and outreach campaign leading up to the March 1 ban on single-use plastic bags.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

The BYO Bag NY campaign includes radio and television ads as well as advertisements on social media. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation plans to also distribute more than 270,000 reusable bags in targeted low and moderate-income communities where there has been an argument that people can’t afford the extra cost of purchasing multi-use bags for shopping.

The ban on plastic bags is being touted as a step toward reducing pollution and the carbon footprint on the planet.  Cuomo says plastic bags are filling up landfills, hanging in trees, blowing down streets and polluting waterways, all hurting the environment. The Democrat adds 12-million barrels of oil are used to make the bags that are used every year.

While the move is being touted by the Governor and others as action to protect the environment, others say the move doesn’t cover all the culprits.  Manufacturers could start making a heavier-gage plastic bag to argue the sacks are re-usable. 

The ban doesn’t apply to plastic bags for bulk items, meat, fish, poultry or produce.  Also exempt are the plastic bags for take-out food, dry cleaner bags and bags to bring home a wet pet like a goldfish.  People who still get a print-version of their newspaper are assured they won’t be stuck with soggy sheets with plastic sleeves for newspapers also still allowed. Purchased plastic like trash-can liners, sandwich bags and packaged doggie pick-up bags are also okay.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation offers information online at www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/50034.html