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Central New Yorkers react to potential plastic bag changes

A ban or fee is part of the New York State plastic bag task force's plan to consider ways to make shopping more efficient for the environment.

Local New York businesses and shoppers may soon be dealing with a ban or fee when using plastic bags.

A ban or fee is part of the New York State plastic bag task force's plan to consider ways to make shopping more efficient for the environment.

Tiara Lang says she uses plastic bags everyday and doesn't want that to change.

"I like my plastic bags. I use them for other then shopping, like groceries, or we use them around the house for stuff like trash," Lang said.

Mike Glynn has a similar take on the issue; he owns Rocky's News & Cigars in Syracuse and believes a ban or fee would affect his business and customers.

"We're probably 80 or 90 percent plastic bags, so we'd have to reconsider that and certainly look at the cost of continuing with plastic," Glynn said. Glynn's store uses both plastic and paper bags, buying 4,000 of them every three months; he says the store uses around 1,000 bags in a month. Glynn understands that business expenses will change day to day, but he is skeptical on how a fee or ban would impact him.

"Let's face it, every time something gets built into the expenses, it gets passed onto consumers," Glynn said.

That said, Glynn does think reducing the amount of single-use plastic bags could help the environment.

"On the green aspect of it, the customers will have the opportunity to bring in a reusable bag, which is a trend that will grow now if this kind of up-charge for plastic bags goes into affect," Glynn said.

The task force released an 88-page report on Saturday reviewing why the issue has been brought up and its plan to reduce single-use plastic bags.

"They can be seen stuck in trees, as litter in our neighborhoods, floating in our waterways and as a general aesthetic eyesore of our environment. Single-use plastic bags are a detriment to the health of communities and the environment alike. From the significant recycling and disposal issues they pose as litter and the harm they create to wildlife, their negative impacts can be seen daily. These problems with single-use plastic bags are not only a statewide problem but a national as well as international issue of concern," a portion of the task force's report said.

The report also features several options that the state can consider:

1). Plastic bag bans

2).Plastic bag and paper bag bans

3). Plastic bag bans with a fee on paper bags

4).A ban on any type of single-use bags including compostable bags

5).Plastic bag fees only

6).Fees on plastic and paper bags

7). A transaction fee on any type of carryout bag available at a retail store (plastic, compostable plastic, paper, or reusable

8). Manufacturer responsibility for plastic bags

9). Manufacturer responsibility for plastic bags with an added fee for consumers at checkout

10). A voluntary monetary consumer incentive at checkout for consumer bringing their own bag.

The task force does not make a recommendation on which option should be pursued, if any. That will be left to the state legislature and governor to decide.

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