Single-Use Plastic Bags Will be Banned Starting March 1; Why It Might Be Tougher for Men

Plastic bags at Fairway.

By Lisa Kava

If you don’t own reusable shopping bags, now is the time to invest in some. You may also want to stockpile your favorite take-out plastic bags.

Starting March 1, stores in New York State will be banned from giving single-use plastic bags to customers at checkout as the New York State Bag Waste Reduction Law goes into effect.

Shoppers will need to either bring their own reusable bags or expect to pay 5 cents or more for each paper bag they receive at checkout. The ban includes grocery stores, food establishments, and other New York businesses.

The purpose of the law is to protect the environment and wildlife, and to cut down on waste. “New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags annually — each for about 12 minutes — and approximately 85% of this staggering total ends up in our landfills, recycling machines, waterways, and streets,” a spokesperson from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wrote to WSR.

Certain bags are exempt from the law, including bags used by pharmacies to carry prescription drugs, produce bags for bulk items such as fruits and vegetables, and dry cleaner garment bags. For a complete list of exemptions, click here.

Stores will continue to sell packages of plastic bags, such as garbage bags, ziploc bags, baggies and bags for cleaning up after dogs, according to the DEC spokesperson.

The 5-cent fee on paper bags at checkout will go to the NYS Department of Tax and Finance, he explained. He added that NYC is one of three regions in the state adopting the “paper bag carry out reduction fee” (the 5-cent charge.) Individual stores may choose to charge more than 5 cents to make a profit. DEC strongly encourages all New Yorkers to #BYOBagNY — Bring Your Own Bag.

The new law won’t affect Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, as both were ahead of the game. Trader Joe’s stopped giving plastic bags to customers on checkout in 2019, Whole Foods stopped in 2008.


How are other establishments on the Upper West Side preparing? WSR spoke to merchants and shoppers.

“We have been working with our bag supplier on developing reusable shopping bags that will be reasonably priced,” said Scott Goldshine, General Manager of Zabar’s & Co., Inc. “Hopefully that will encourage customers to carry the bags with them to use frequently, which will cut down the use of all other bags as well. It will be very interesting to see how the law will be enforced and I’m sure it will take a while to get used to.”

At Fairway’s 74th and Broadway location, a manager told us the store has always sold reusable bags. He expects those sales will increase and believes most New Yorkers will know to bring their own bags starting March 1. Employees at the Broadway store are “waiting for further instructions from Fairway’s corporate office,” the manager said.

Kenny Wolk, owner of Park West Pharmacy on Columbus Avenue at 82nd Street, applauds the law’s objective but recognizes people will need to adjust. “Today it was raining,” he said in an interview. “A customer came in and bought a handful of things. I gave him a large plastic bag. He was so grateful saying that the rain would have ruined a paper bag.”

“This new law might be more of an adjustment for men,” Wolk added. “Women often come into the store carrying reusable bags. Last week a woman pulled a beautiful reusable bag out of her purse. But many men do not carry a purse so might not be in the habit of carrying reusable bags.”

We asked shopper and neighborhood resident Steve Martin if he agrees. “Normally, I know if I am going shopping, so taking a bag with me would not be a big deal. But I agree that generally it could be a little more inconvenient for men.”

Men may have a tougher adjustment.

How do other Upper West Siders feel about the upcoming change?

Some are enthusiastic and have already made lifestyle changes. “I love the efforts being made by retailers and consumers to use sustainable and recyclable products. This is a big win for environmental protection,” said Christine Simmons. “I carry a bag to and from work daily and store reusable bags for my groceries so I’m never caught without or have to resort to using plastic bags.”

Others are cynical. “I like this new law but think that unfortunately we will find other ways to carry our groceries that will continue adding to our landfill. Some may use heavier plastic bags which will inevitably end up in landfill and will take even longer to break down,” said Tessie Nedelman.

And others who support the law wonder about potential disadvantages. “I am concerned about excessive single-use plastic, so more than happy to carry reusable bags for shopping. I will probably keep a few of those thin nylon bags in my purse,” said Katherine Weber. “However, I have always been an obsessive saver of plastic shopping bags and reuse them for dog poop bags and cat litter waste. So in my case (and I’m sure I’m not the only one) it does feel a bit ironic that now I might have to purchase new plastic baggies for this purpose.”

Like it or not, a big change for all is just around the corner. Hopefully, in time, we will improve the environment as a result. And, eventually, “Bring Your Own Bag” may be just another part of our daily existence.

For more details on the Bag Waste Reduction Law, check out the state’s website here.

The New York City Department of Sanitation is giving out free reusable bags. For information click here.

FOOD, NEWS | 105 comments | permalink
      • Cato says:

        This is a great article, Steven. Thanks. I encourage everyone to read it.

        Another unintended consequence is one illustrated by my own intended response to the ban. Others have said they expect to do the same thing. I’m simply going to do more of my shopping on-line. You don’t want me to carry my purchases home in a bag? Great! I won’t carry them home at all — I’ll have them delivered right to my door. Mom-and-Pop stores? Sorry, I’d love to patronize you, but the Tree Huggers want to make it too difficult. Net result? Fewer plastic bags, and fewer brick-and-mortar stores.

        And, alternatively, yet another unintended consequence is that the World Savers have now simply increased the already-sky-high cost of living in this City. In addition to the inflated costs of, well, everything, I’m now going to have to pay a nickel more for each bag I need to carry those things home. So, if Amazon or FreshDirect won’t deliver something, it will now cost me at least five cents — for the moment, anyway — more to buy it in a store.

        And, no, I’m not going to carry of those “Save the Whales” canvas bags in my back pocket everywhere I go, just in case I might buy something in the course of a day. I just won’t buy it. And I doubt that I am alone in any of this.

        • Ryan says:

          Great! Don’t buy it then. Less junk for the landfill!

        • JH says:

          The fact that you use the pejorative phrase “tree-hugger” to criticize this new policy serves to demonstrates your ignorance and how out of touch you are with the environmental crisis. I’ll restate the numbers for you and even do the math: 85% of 23 billion plastic bags = 19.55 billion plastic bags end up in landfills from NYC alone. Absolutely staggering.

          The reason we have laws is so that informed smart people can make decisions for the good of society, so that we don’t have to trust in people like “Cato” to do the right thing — because clearly, they won’t.

          • Cato says:

            “The reason we have laws is so that informed smart people can make decisions for the good of society…”

            So you’re a big supporter of building the wall between Mexico and the United States, then?

            And love the current administration’s revised immigration regulations?

            Wait — adore the new “no bail” law?

            No, somehow I didn’t think so.

            When the People give up the right to object to laws imposed on them, especially under the sedative propaganda that governments are no more than “informed smart people [who] can make decisions for the good of society”, we are all in a heck of a lot of trouble.

            • JH says:

              I said “smart people”, which obviously doesn’t include Trump, et al.

              No one said anything about giving up the right to object to laws. Chill out.

          • h says:

            “The reason we have laws is so that informed smart people can make decisions for the good of society, so that we don’t have to trust in people like “Cato” to do the right thing — because clearly, they won’t.”

            I love it when liberals say this. They think they are so much smarter than everyone else, and that they should decide how everyone else lives because they know best. It’s so disgusting, patronizing, and arrogant.

          • Vía Ventana says:

            @JH But how many of the bags in landfills got there after being used as garbage bags in the home? Now we’ll have to buy garbage bags instead of using the grocery bags for that.

        • Ken says:

          Cato, I’ve got a bunch of loose nickels — essentially otherwise unusable “money,” that I’d be happy to donate to you. I suppose I could keep you going, like, forever.

        • Sheila Wolk says:

          I dont mind the new law of no plastic bags BUT i do mind stores charging the customer to carry out purchases!!!! Why doesn’t the stores themselves pay the nickle a bag ( whatever bag they create for a customer to take foods and other things home with???) …Seems to me that this new law was NOT so well thought out ..the merchants might be thinking, oh yay we get more money but in the long run, like one post said..they might lose in the end when customers start shopping online and get free deliveries…all in a bag!

        • Nino says:

          There are super thin nylon bags with nothing on them that you can fit in your pocket for those unexpected purchases. They come in solid colors, so you can choose a color you like without being an advertisement to such a terrible cause like “save the whales”.

          I feel sorry that you only care about convenience. That’s a very selfish sentiment. Bringing a bag to local stores is not that hard. And by purchasing online you’re supporting mega corporations that are terrible for the environment and you are contributing a larger carbon footprint due to the excess packaging and shipping. When stores order goods the buy in bulk, reducing packaging waste and extra shipping. So you’ve found a way to circumvent the new law, but haven’t done anything to help the earth. Good for you.

      • Ryan says:

        Yes, sales of plastic bags increase, but not to 23 BILLION annually. People receive several HUNDRED less plastic bags each year, and instead buy several DOZEN more. There’s an order of magnitude savings of plastic in there. But I know, math is hard when you’re angry.

      • JD says:

        It’s not hard to get into the habit of carrying a reusable bag that can be used over and over. Keep them in a jacket pocket or hanging by the door. I’ve been using the same two or three bags for nearly 10 years (and I’m a man!) I also end up with plenty of plastic bags from produce or other bulk items to clean up after my dog. No need to buy extra plastic bags.

      • There is no end to this, reusable bags are also winding up in the trash.

      • Zanarkand says:

        This is so dead on. We reuse the plastic bags for trash bags. It’s perfect for NYC kitchen waste and fits down our trash chute in the building. Now we’ll have to go get the plastic bag rolls from Ikea…side note, these are probably the best small bags you can get and are only about $4-5 for a roll of 30.

    1. michael says:

      So let me get this straight. I’m going to Gristedes on Columbus and I buy fresh broccoli wrapped in plastic, bananas in a plastic bag, milk in a plastic jug, a loaf of bread in, get this, a plastic bag, a container of Lysol wipes in a plastic jug and a pound of salmon sitting in styrofoam and wrapped in plastic, but I cannot walk them home in a plastic bag because it’s bad for the environment?

      • UWSHebrew says:

        michael you win WSR comment of 2020 so far.

      • Will says:

        Baby steps Michael

      • EdNY says:

        In that case, it does seem a bit redundant. But for sales of the millions of items that don’t require plastic, an enormous number of plastic bags will be eliminated. So in total, the new law will have a beneficial effect.

      • ben says:

        While I agree with the general sentiment, I also believe that you gotta start somewhere. Wholesale changes, pun intended, out of the blue will absolutely fail.

      • B.W. says:

        You buy salmon at Gristedes? I don’t even shop at that garbage dump, but to buy salmon there seems like flying too close to the sun.

      • NYYgirl says:

        And then you won’t have the Gristedes bag to line your trash cans with as we have done for years…was just discussing having to BUY plastic bags for the first time in (literally) decades. We decided that it is a win-win for the garbage bag manufacturers since we had never paid for garbage bags before. For the record, we are a family of 4-5 depending on who is home, and we do our best to lower our footprint by bringing compostables to the farmers market, carrying reusable bags (often made from plastic water bottles btw) everywhere in case we need to pick up some unplanned thing on the way home, washing out all recyclables, not shopping for brand-new stuff at all very often, etc. etc. The thought of paying the bag makers, who may well be congratulating each other all the way to the bank, does not sit well. And before anybody asks me to use paper bags as trash can liners instead, feel free to walk in my footsteps as I clean up after sick kids and sanitize our living space for our elderly infirm with compromised immune systems, I guarantee that the public health hazard is real. Thank you for the link to the article, Steven. I would even add to it, though, that the extra footprint created by keeping these reusable grocery bags free of food-safety issues (not to mention the extra expense) should be factored in, as washing them by hand wastes precious water and washing by machine, even if it is a new hi-tech eco-machine, may actually use less water but is an electrical waste, not to mention a luxury…not everybody owns a washing machine,…not everyone who pays to use a washing machine can pay even more to wash bags!! Again, we are a family who was environmentally conscious before it was either trendy or mandated. Not everybody can do it the same way. It’s a very difficult issue and although we all should worry about the earth, absolutely, I am also worried about the people who live on it, especially those less financially fortunate. As with most ‘one size fits all’ policies, this one may not.

      • JH says:

        It’s a start to the tune of reducing plastic bag usage by 19.55 billion (for NYC) alone per year. It’s just a start. You seem to be criticizing this policy because it doesn’t solve every problem with disposable waste in one miraculous swoop.

        • Michael says:

          I’m all for protecting the environment. The problem is that this policy does relatively nothing while making people feel like they are doing something. That said, every little bit helps.

          People who study pollution assess ‘harm’ on the basis of what or who is experiencing a negative impact. With litter, there are several metrics including item count, surface area, volume, and mass.

          Suggesting that the number of bags used is important for example is a statistical distraction. It is unimportant when compared to the numbers of cigarette butts, beverage cups, paper or food wrappers. You can make the same arguments for volume, mass and surface area.

          There is relatively little inconvenience to the average person as a result of this ban, I was merely pointing out the hypocrisy.

      • Sheila Wolk says:

        Michelle.had best answer!!!! Yes the grocery stores use plastic bags all over the place to put your produce in yet at check out they won’t give us a bag to take all the produce home????????
        …I say the stores should create their own bags for people to carry goodies home with…at NO charge and the people will keep coming back because of the sensible respect the store is giving to us, the public

      • NANNETTE Gonnella says:

        Michael thanks for the laugh! 🤣 Your comments were the best!⭐️

    2. ybss says:

      lol, these photo captions. makes no sense.

    3. Amy says:

      LOL what? I’ve never seen anyone with a reusable bag at Fairway, male or female.

      • odt2bn says:

        My wife always bring reusable bags. You and I need to co ordinate our shopping trips so you can see our bags.

      • Brandon says:

        I never bring reusable bags to Fairway. Why not? Because Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods don’t have plastic bags, I need some for garbage, and the Fairway bags are great for that. Don’t assume that everyone you see with a plastic shopping bag isn’t environmentally friendly. it is better to get that plastic bag for groceries and reuse it for garbage than to buy plastic garbage bags.

        • Ryan says:

          No, it’s not better. It’s the same plastic bag. The difference is you don’t get 500 other plastic bags, and you’re paying for the bags you do use.

          Also, you need about 2 plastic bags a month for trash. (Yes, it’s completely possible, I get by on less than 1)

          • Brandon says:

            As I said, TJs and Whole Foods don’t have plastic bags so I only get them from Fairway. I bring reusable bags when I go to other grocery but not to Fairway because I need the plastic bags. This law will not reduce my use of plastic bags at all.

      • Maggie says:

        I Often shop at Fairway carrying a reusable bag. It’s been difficult to remember but am getting much better. Sometimes I carry a cotton string bag and feel very French!

    4. Mark Moore says:

      But it will affect Trader Joe’s if they have to charge a nickel a bag.

    5. Ryan says:


      Do you have pockets?
      What’s that, yes you say? Great, place bag in pocket. Fear not brave men, for we will survive!

      • LivesOnUWS says:

        Try the Chico Bag. You can buy them at Health Nuts. They fold up into a pocket-sized bag and you can fit a basket of groceries in it. It also has a carabiner attached.

        For all of you complaining. I feel like I just read posts from a kindergarten class. It is too cold. It is too far. Are we there yet. Oh the agony. I already do something else so I shouldn’t have to change.

        • Lady Di says:

          AMEN! adults acting like spoiled children about a minor convenience already enacted in many other metropolitan cities i.e. Chicago and San Francisco. Eliminating the multiple layers of plastic bags being used for groceries etc, may not cure all ills but every little bit helps put off our suffocating in plastic down the road.

    6. WB233629 says:

      I’m personally SHOCKED that NYC opted into the 5 cent per paper bag tax. Another opportunity to fleece the tax payers of this city.

      I am all for reasonable efforts to limit waste and re-use bags but taxing bio-degradable, recyclable paper bags is the opposite of encouraging better behavior, it just incentivizes online shopping.

      I’m sure it’s also only a matter of time until DeBlazio suggests that shoppers under a certain income level be excluded from the paper bag tax.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        In some towns in Long Island, grocery stores and gas stations have been charging 20 to 30 cents for a plastic bag for the past five years or so.

    7. Scott says:

      I re-use all the plastic bags provided to me. Either for a trash liner or for dog cleanup. This is certainly a win for the Glad company and whoever makes those poop baggies with the paw prints on them.

      • UWSEd says:

        Hi, Scott –

        I nerded out when we got dogs, and I asked of The Siera Club about the ecological wisdom of using grocery bags for dog poop. They told me “Nay Nay,” unless I had a Great Dane. More efficient are the smaller vegetable bags. So, I wander around Fairway and pick up many, many unused and discarded vegetable bags laying around the store. Join me?!!

    8. Kenneth says:

      It’s one thing if you live in the burbs and drive your car to Shop-Rite to purchase groceries. You can keep a stash of reusable bags in the trunk and use them. In Manhattan however, no one takes a car (assuming you have one) grocery shopping. So now – before you go shopping, you must go home (don’t stop on your way home from work or the movies) and get your bags first. Then after you use your bags, you need to clean/sanitize them (aging poultry juice is likely not good for you) which will also use up other resources for clean / disinfect. Also, the bottoms of the bags will be disgusting from contact with the sidewalk, the floor of the bus / subway; just what you should not be bringing into your kitchen. The whole concept was poorly thought out.

    9. liz says:

      While it may be debatable that a plastic bag ban reduces plastic waste significantly, what it DOES reduce is the cost of dealing with plastic bags entangled in our sewage system…estimated to be nearly $2 million per year in NYC. Not to mention the ones caught in trees, blowing down the street, caught in subway tracks.

      • It definitely about cost management. Lower your labor costs by having someone else do the dirty work. Have someone sort out your trash for free and you don’t need to hire to do so. Buy expensive garbage receptacles to lower the cost of labor. Have the homeless and undocumented collect bottles and you don’t need to recycle them yourself. Have cheap and free labor pre process and you don’t need to pay to post process. There are municipalities that are spending the money to process unsorted trash after it is collected. Our dumps can be and will have to be processed eventually to clean up the pollution they create.

      • LYeostros says:

        More backups occur in the sewer system because of low-flow toilets

    10. DUDE says:

      Hi, I’m a man and I’m really worried about this policy. What are these reusable bags you speak of? And how do they work? I just looked up a picture and I’m super confused. What are those loopy things that emerge from the top? Am I to sling the parcel around my neck?

      While I’m here, can someone walk me through the process of putting items in said bag? Is it a bear trap scenario, in which I place a bag on the grocery store floor and wait for an unsuspecting cantaloupe to wander in?

      Please advise.

    11. NYC residents don’t care and will absorb the cost of the bag tax. We see it every day in the tens of thousands of deposit bottles collected from the trash. People already feel they are helping the poor by throwing out their bottles. If grocery bags were treated as bottles we would see them being returned and someone could be earning money (tax free) in the process.

    12. A normal modern man says:

      Ridiculous sexist title and reasoning. Modern Upper West Side men carry duffle bags, backpacks and briefcases. Modern day women are often without purses. Please stop perpetuating stereotypes based on gender, they no longer hold true very much and cause younger man to fee stigmatized if they wear totes and women stigmatized if not buying an expensive purse.

    13. BJK says:

      I’m a guy and don’t carry a man-purse and so I have started testing out AmazonFresh (which I get free delivery on anyway since I’m a Prime member) and FreshDirect to see if they will meet my needs. They have pretty much everything I need so I will start using them instead of shopping locally so that I don’t have to constantly walk around with my pockets stuffed with bags. This will hurt local businesses which is what the State and City of New York seem to do best.

    14. Sara Shapiro-Plevan says:

      Did you really make this about gender? Are you calling men stupid and incapable of planning ahead? Or resistant to change? The sexism is strong here–don’t make it worse by perpetuating gendered stereotypes here.

    15. Rebecca Tesich says:

      Perhaps people who have dogs might consider reusing bread bags, cut off to a shorter length. Or other small plastic bags that seem unavoidable.

      • UWSHebrew says:

        Such an important suggestion thank you so much Tikkun Olam.

      • Christine E says:

        Interesting idea but there is no way to eat that much bread!!! A dog may go several times per day. I will continue to buy dog poo bags (which are still allowed).

      • Jay says:

        There are biodegradable doggie bags that are easily found and are much easier to use than plastic bags you get from the grocery.

      • Christine says:

        What’s a “bread” bag? Who could possibly eat enough bread in one week to support a dog’s daily poop walk?

    16. Naomi says:

      I love this country but damn it makes no sense. We walk everywhere; most of US don’t have cars and now we can’t even have bags. Meanwhile, in Florida, grocery stores double bags everything and then people put it in their giant trucks to drive away…

    17. Marcia kellner says:

      impulse shopping? even women don’t carry reusable bags all the time. Stores have already given notice they will charge more than 5 cents per bag. Who profits.
      Why not ban the iniquitous plastic bottles littering our streets. They should be banned also. Beverage companies are using our free water and still chrginfpg for plastic bottles. WHO PROFITS

    18. UWSDrew says:

      Just pay the 5 cents… not a big deal.

    19. Big Earl says:

      You can buy plastic shopping bags on Amazon. Price is $13-15 for 300-350 bags. I plan to buy a bundle and bring them to the store when needed.

    20. RB says:

      I would love to see the demographics of some of the people commenting on this site. Lots of excuses and complaining when this works in other cities just fine and if you forget your bag then just pay 5 cents that day. The average salary per household in UWS is among the highest in the U.S. I’m sure you can change your habits and pay 5 cents and still survive paying $9 at Joe & The Juice and $4.75 bagel w/ cream cheese at Zucker’s.

      • stu says:

        RB – I would bet that many of those posting on this site who have an issue with paying the 5 cents do NOT spend $9 for juice or nearly $5 for a bagel. And if they do, then I agree with your sentiment.

        • Cato says:

          I’ve never been to “Joe & The Juice” or to Zucker’s, and I’m not paying $9.00 for coffee (or juice?) or $4.75 for a bagel with cream cheese, whatever their pedigrees.

    21. Steven says:

      For all of the snarky comments making fun of people for not wanting to have to switch to reusable bags, nobody seems to be substantively addressing the point of the NPR article, which is that on balance reusable bags are worse for the environment.

      • J.M. says:

        My takeaway from the article is one of the final points of the author. “The most environment-friendly way to carry groceries is to use the same bag over and over again.” Don’t use organic cotton bags, know that this doesn’t lead to a significant decline in our carbon footprint if paper bags aren’t similarly constrained, and expect an increase in plastic bag sales by consumers for the first 12 months following the ban.

        But the article doesn’t broadly address the broader objective – curtailing the amount of single use plastic bags shipped to landfills and escaping into the environment, other than noting an overall 70% reduction, which seems to me to be a pretty significant win.

      • Ryan says:

        If you followed the links in the article:

        “Nonwoven PP, on the other hand, is less costly than cotton. These bags need to be reused only 11 times to break even with the conventional plastic (according to the same U.K. study).”

        11 times is basically two trips, each reusable bag holds 2-3 times a disposal plastic bag, and then they double bag it.
        Factor in the waste disposal costs, land filling issues, fish ingesting bag micro-plastics, you ingesting the fish’s micro-plastics and we start looking pretty good for reusable.

    22. Karindnyc says:

      I’m more concerned about not bringing enough bags with me. I often will buy more if I see something on sale. But if the paper bags have no handles or won’t hold a bottle of OJ or seltzer without tearing, I’m probably not going to buy those items.

    23. Evan says:

      It’s a start. But if the biggest and most wasteful city in the world wants to combat climate change, enough with all the exceptions. Single use water bottles and coffee cups need to be banned, among other things

      • Manny Pursely says:

        I’ve been re-using shopping bags for more than a decade now–it’s easy, and I long ago stopped swimming in plastic bags. I keep a small shopping bag folded up in my computer case (yes, call it a man-purse!) for the rare unplanned shopping trip on the way home from work, but if worse comes to worst, I’ll just pay for a plastic bag.

        I would, however, draw a hard line on a ban of bottles and disposable cups. People already pay a tax on the latter (in the form of a deposit), and the impact on food sellers of banning to-go containers, would be extreme.

        You’ll lose more people than you’ll gain with enviro-fascist talk like this.

        • Evan says:

          Paper cups are just as bad as plastic ones. They are all lined with plastic and are rarely recycled. If we dont start with more moves toward a green future, there will be no future. Restaurants could use plant based containers or paper containers. It’s not all on the restaurants, it should be on the local governments to either subsidize this to start or make there be incentives. It’s time to stop saying “that’s too hard, it costs too much.” Guess what, i’d like my 2 children to grow up and actually be able to inhabit this earth.

    24. Sharon says:

      Let me say something that no one has addressed. I am handicapped and walk with crutches. When I shop, I hang the plastic shopping bags on my crutch handles so I can carry several. The paper bags usually do not have handles, and in my experience. Those that do, like CVS, rip the minute I hang them on. While I have already purchased some reusable bags, I often have large orders that I will not be able to tote around 10 bags for. I also remember the days of the brown paper grocery bags, which my mother reused for school book covers. Why were they changed in favor of plastic? Because we were killing too many trees. Many people are just going to suck it up and spend the five cents. Where does that put us? Right back where we were. The politicians see the local coppers filling up, while the consumer, once again, gets a raw deal. Many stores are already taking advantage by charging a fee for boxes, which they never did in the past. Once again, they have gotten it all wrong. A solution is needed, but this is not it.

    25. Michael says:

      Step 1: Purchase bags on Amazon at $0.01 per bag.
      Step 2: Stand in front of Fairway and sell 4 bags for $0.10
      Step 3: Profit

    26. Derek says:

      Going to be easier for men, because we don’t buy more items than we can carry. That’s why we’re not carrying around reusable bags.

    27. manhattan mark says:

      The best way to use plastic bags is to shop at Zabars then go down to Fairway and put the things that you got in the Zabar’s bag. The Zabar’s bag is bigger, stronger, and can be flattened smooth and put in your pocket if you are a male and if you’re a woman put it into your hand bag. If your going to save some bags, Zabars is what you what you want. I’ve been doing this for fifty years. I hope you get some help.

      • Scott says:

        Yeah, I’ve often considered the Zabar’s bag to be the gold standard of plastic bags. I’d love to know the specs on their bags. They’re thick as hell and can hold crazy amounts of merchandise. I almost want to go there and do a big shop and have them use 1 bag for each item I buy.

    28. Sheldon Burke says:

      A reusable shopping bag can be strengthened by placing a piece of corrugated cardboard on the bottom of the bag.

    29. Khan Spiraci says:

      The law says nutt’n about bringing your own plastic bags…justs that the store can’t use them.

      You can buy them in bulk online cheap.


    30. plasticfree says:

      This is a fantastic move. Sorry for the inconvenience its going to cause you. First world problems! I hope they ban plastic water bottles next. Both of these plastic items are relatively new to our lives and we survived as a human race without them just fine.

    31. Josh says:

      I haven’t been paying attention since the city banned smoking in restaurants. The city went to hell and everybody left right?

    32. Karl says:

      Bunch of insecure snowflake men in the comments. “oh no, my masculinity” they cry as they’re forced to suffer through the indignity of a canvas bag.

    33. UWS40 says:

      What do I use to throw out garbage in my building?
      Do I carry every single piece of garbage down to the basement by hand. Bring a pot and scrape out the contents into the bins. Or. Take the plastic bag full of kitchen garbage dump the contents into the binds then wash the bag to reuse it. Gross!

    34. Jamie says:

      Stores could have customers pay a deposit for reusable bags that’s refunded or reused when they bring a back back. That’s my five cents…

    35. Louisa Cabot says:

      Do the 5 cent paper bags have handles?

    36. Wynn Salisch says:

      This is just a scam to pad the coffers of the state tax department without calling it what it is, another tax. If they instead were only charging for plastic bags so as to limit their use and donating the fees to an environmental nonprofit, it might be justified, but of course they’re not and it isn’t. There’s also no justification for charging for paper bags that get soggy in the rain and break open. This will also further hurt local small businesses as people migrate more to online shopping with free delivery to avoid these aggravations.

    37. Allison says:

      Something will make things harder for men? Let me play the world’s saddest song on the tiniest violin.

      File under: Don’t care.

    38. UWS40 says:

      The politicians who passed this law obviously don’t have garbage.
      Or they will break the law.

    39. Ellie says:

      What a whiner, Cato. Get real, stop going off like the mad characters in Disney films. European countries have been doing this good stuff for a quarter century and can still walk and talk. You must love plastic bags blowing in the wind as they hang on and into our street trees. This is Grinch thinking on your part

    40. dg says:

      I feel conflicted that I will now need to use more plastic garbage bags instead of the smaller shopping bags I get from the bodega/zabars to seal up and put in my garbage chute. Can’t put paper bags in the chute and even if we could, can you imagine the rodent/roach situation?

    41. Nancy L says:

      I live in an old building without an incinerator. Plastic bags are used to set trash and garbage in the hallway for pick up. Just some more money spent to buy them. There’s plastic everywhere and a lot of it is used for animal waste. And if less plastic use is the aim, why charge for paper bags? A scam.

    42. Barbara Kronman says:

      While cutting down on use of single-use plastic bags is very good for the environment , I have not seen mention of bags used for daily garbage such as household waste.

      This probably means I will BUY plastic bags . Is this better?

    43. Liz Shackelford says:

      This is nanny state. Government should be making scientific solutions to the problem. Government should not intrude into our lives by telling what bags are permitted and which are not. What is the next intrusion under the guise of the environment?

      • Deb says:

        Nanny country is what will happen if Bloomberg becomes President. Remember when he tried to outlaw super sized sodas?

    44. Mary says:

      Does anyone know how grocery deliveries will be handled? Will only paper bags be used and will we be charged for each paper bag used in the delivery? Just curious. I’ll find out soon enough!

    45. Ruth Bonnet says:

      Time for men to invest in murses! (Male purses)

    46. Lee Honickman says:

      People should know that using those store plastic bags is terrible. Those bags don’t disintegrate and go in a landfill some or some other place. Your cat litter and dog waste will live in that bag forever.. Get bags made specifically for animal waste!!!!!!

    47. Nannette Gonnella says:

      💚March1,2020 will be the end of plastic bag use! RIP dear friend. Does this mean I can get back my parking spot on Central Park West? Since I’ll need to pick up my groceries when I go to Costco 🤑

    48. Sharon says:

      What a bunch of whiners. As one person pointed out, plastic bags have been banned in Europe and other countries for years and if allowed cost money to buy. Oh, they also frequently require you to bag your own groceries. If you need bags for trash or dog waste, get biodegradable ones. They’re awesome. Men carry brief cases and use backpacks so it is really easy for them to always have a reusable bag. I have a 14 year old Chico bag that I still use – it folds into its own tiny pouch that fits in a pocket and has a carabiner to attach to things.

    49. Sarah B Roberts says:

      The inconvenience argument is really just failure to admit laziness. So many men already carry backpacks or some sort of work bag. No reason they can’t keep some nylon bags in those. Also there are reasonably inexpensive biodegradable small bags for cat and dog waste. I have already been gong as plastic free as possible and it’s not that difficult. The one that kills me is people taking time to go to greet markets because they care enough about locally grown food but don’t care enough to take their own bags. I do get plastic bags from takeout and try to reuse them as much as possible. Composting at weekly green markets has really helped with cutting down on household trash.