New York state to start stalled plastic bag ban in October

ALBANY — New York state will start enforcing its long-stalled ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery stores and supermarkets starting Oct. 19, according to a letter filed in court Friday.

The ban took effect March 1, but has been stalled thanks to a lawsuit filed in Albany Supreme Court from Poly-Pak Industries — a Long Island-based plastics manufacturer — that halted state enforcement requiring retailers to trash the environmentally unsound.

But an August decision by Acting Supreme Court Justice Gerald Connolly struck down a majority of the company’s arguments, green-lighting the state to proceed with enforcement so long as the state Department of Environmental Conservation provided at least one month’s notice to businesses ahead of enforcement — which it did on Friday in a notification letter to Connolly.

“The Court’s decision is a victory and a vindication of the state’s efforts to end the use of most plastic bags and a direct rebuke to the plastic bag manufacturers who tried to stop the law and DEC’s regulations to implement it,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement.

“As we have for many months, DEC is encouraging New Yorkers to make the switch to reusable bags whenever and wherever they shop and to use common-sense precautions to keep reusable bags clean.”

Meanwhile, representatives from the plastic bag industries argue they don’t see the move as a total loss, as the judge’s decision said the DEC’s interpretation and subsequent regulation regarding bag thickness conflicted with the types of bags approved by the state Legislature, signed into law last year.

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