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Cuomo says plastic bag ban will be part of New York State budget


Morgan Humphries, 49, and Robert Urban of the Upper West Side carrying their shopping plastic bags from Food City supermarket on 94th St. and Columbus Ave. in Manhattan. (Lombard Mariela for New York Daily News)

A proposed ban on single-use plastic shopping bags will be included in the state budget, Gov. Cuomo announced Sunday.

The governor created a task force last year “to develop a comprehensive statewide solution to address” the issue. Cuomo took that step after he blocked the city from implementing a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper disposable bags.

Afterwards, he proposed a bill banning the bags based on one of the task force’s recommendations. But the legislation stalled.

The newly proposed “statewide plastic bag prohibition” will now be included in the state budget.

But exceptions will be made “to ensure the roll-out of this initiative does not disproportionately impact low and moderate income and environmental justice communities through the distribution of reusable bags and exemptions where appropriate,” Cuomo’s office said in a statement.

Environmental activists want the Cuomo administration to also enact a small fee on paper bags in order to discourage their use once the plastic ban is enacted.

The task force report estimated that New Yorkers use approximately 23 billion plastic bags annually. Those throwaway bags are not recyclable and some end up blown into the ocean.

Also Sunday, Cuomo announced that he will expand the Bottle Bill “to make most non-alcoholic beverage containers eligible for 5 cent redemption, including those for sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable beverages and ready-to-drink teas and coffee”