State task force pushes to ban plastic bags

Local News

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- They’re at every grocery store, pharmacy, or gas station; but they won’t be for long if a state task force gets it’s way.

“It’s the convenience, but I definitely would not miss it. I think we should ban them altogether,” said Buffalo resident Diana Oishei.

Saturday, the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force released a detailed report on the environmental threats of plastic bags, and how to stop them.

One suggestion is outlawing the bags altogether.

General manager of the Lexington Co-op Tim Bartlett is on board.

“We definitely support a state-wide ban,” he told News 4.

Bartlett was also behind a county effort to get rid of the plastic in 2016, but that wasn’t successful.MORE | Poloncarz aims to ban plastic bags in Erie County

On average, about 30 percent of shoppers at the Co-op on Hertel Avenue already opt for canvas bags. Currently there is no charge to use paper or plastic.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about,” Bartlett told News 4.

10 municipalities in New York State have a ban on plastic bags.

The report states they’re derived from fossil fuels and pose a serious risk to marine and other wildlife. They’re also a source of litter.

“It’s unsightly, a lot of them blow around, stick in to different trees, bushes, stuff like that,” said Buffalo resident Ted Pac outside of Top’s Market on Elmwood Avenue.

Many local grocery stories have large bins where shoppers can recycle the bags.

Neither Tops nor Wegmans charge for plastic bags. Pac doesn’t think a fee would limit their use.

“What’s ten cents to somebody,” he said.

Several municipalities nationwide charge 5 to 10 cents for them.

A 7 cent fee in Chicago led to a 42 percent dip in plastic bag use in the first month, according to the state’s report.

The Task Force suggested several ideas, including requiring manufactures to pay for recycling the plastic bags.Click here to read the full report

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