Plastic Bag Concerns in NYS - Exploring Local Solutions

Local Leaders Exploring Solutions to Growing Plastic Bag Concerns in New York State

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) is gathering feedback from counties on issues surrounding the management of plastic bags in communities across the state.
NYSAC held a Facebook Live Town Hall on August 7, 2017 to provide county officials with an update on activities surrounding plastic bag bans, fees, and legal considerations at the local level. NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario moderated the Town Hall, answered questions from counties, and encouraged members to provide comments that could be addressed by the Statewide Task Force on Plastic Bags that was created by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo earlier this year.

The Town Hall video can be viewed on NYSAC's Facebook page.
The Problem
New York State residents use 23 billion plastic bags each year. These bags do not biodegrade and many of them make their way into the environment as litter and into our waterways threatening wildlife, adding to our solid waste facilities, and clogging up recycling operations.
The New York City Department of Sanitation estimates that it collects an average of 1,700 tons of plastic bags per week, costing $12.5 million per year in disposal expenses. These numbers prompted the City to pass a local law to place on fee on the use of plastic bags. State lawmakers promptly passed State legislation to block the local law. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, with the caveat that he would create a Statewide Task Force to address efforts to manage the use of plastic bags.
"Many counties and municipalities across the United States have implemented bans or fees for lightweight plastic bags, and even more are considering them," said NYSAC Executive Director Stephen J. Acquario, a member of the State's task force on plastic bags. "NYSAC is taking a range of questions and collecting feedback on a number of different fronts. We will take those questions and feedback to the State's task force."
The Statewide Task Force is being led by the Chairs of the Legislative Environmental Conservation Committees and includes representation from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYSAC, the League of Conservation Voters and the Food Industry Alliance.

Media Contact:
Mark LaVigne,  NYSAC Deputy Director

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all 62 counties of New York State including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC's mission is to represent, educate and advocate for member counties and the thousands of elected and appointed county officials who serve the public. For more information, visit