N.Y. bans plastic bags

On March 1, New York implemented a
ban on plastic bags to improve the environment.
Photo courtesy of Forbes.

On March 1, New York implemented a ban on plastic bags to improve the environment. Photo courtesy of Forbes.

Barbara Lunsford, Copy Editor

It was the morning of March 2 when I saw an article online regarding New York’s recent ban on plastic bags. The news excited me more than most things I come across or read about. The Bag Waste Reduction Law was put into effect on March 1, 2020, and has halted the growing 23 billion plastic bags consumed in a year by New York alone. Instead, citizens must invest in reusable bags for any grocery or clothing shopping they may do.

I fully support this new change as the earth is currently not in
the best state due to global warming, a problem that is only getting bigger. Plastic is a major player when it comes to objects helping further climate change. According to Biological Diversity, plastic bags, specifically, are the cause of more than 100,000 marine animal deaths each year. This is largely due to 90% of the debris found in oceans being made up of plastics and Styrofoam, as recorded by Sloactive.

The facts only get scarier. Biological Diversity continues to inform how Americans alone use about 100 billion plastic bags a year. For an item used so often, plastic bags are, on average, only used by consumers for 12 minutes. So, New York taking a step ahead of the rest of us to put a ban on these wasteful nightmares gives me a little bit of hope. New York has a population reaching almost 9 million, meaning the impact they have on the world is indeed a great one. I can see bigger cities being the first to start adopting similar policies, and I hope Chicago is one of those places that moves forward to stand next to New York.

We need to spread awareness and really take control of our own personal actions that can impact our environment. Despite
plastic bags still thriving here in Illinois, each individual can take it upon themselves to return their used plastic bags to stores like Target, which have bins to recycle plastic in so that they do not end up in trees and oceans. Even if no city or state is quick to join in on this modern environmental ban, New York’s lack of plastic bag usage will still drive the country’s annual consumption down by about a good fifth. Progress is being made and now is the time to stand up for the planet that gives us life.