Enforcement of Bag Waste Reduction Law Begins October 19th

Plastic Bag Ban Will Be Enforced by NYS DEC

(Ithaca, NY) – The New York State Bag Waste Reduction Law officially went into effect on March 1st, 2020, but enforcement was delayed due to an industry lawsuit. Ultimately, the law was upheld by the New York State Supreme Court, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that it will begin enforcing the law and its regulations on October 19th.

The Bag Waste Reduction Law, often referred to as a plastic bag ban, prohibits the distribution of plastic carryout bags by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax. More information about the law can be found at the NYS DEC website.

A local law is also in effect that applies a $.05 fee to all paper bags provided to customers of retail establishments in Tompkins County. This incentivizes the repeated use of durable, reusable bags. The fee does not apply to recipients of SNAP and WIC, and is intended to create an incentive for using reusable bags. Part of the revenue from the paper bag fee is used towards distributing reusable bags to lower income residents.

The DEC encourages New Yorkers to take common sense precautions to keep their reusable bags clean. They recommend keeping meat, fish or poultry, fresh produce, and ready to eat foods in separate bags to reduce the spread of germs. Reusable bags should be washed regularly. The New York State Department of Health provides best practices for cleaning your reusable bag on their website.


Tompkins Recycling and Materials Management


(607) 273-6632