Plastic bag use plummets with fees, report finds

A new report claims that shoppers on Long Island are using more than a billion fewer plastic bags due to a fee to use them went into effect a year ago.

In 2018, stores in Suffolk County were required to start charging customers five cents for each plastic or paper bag.  The purpose was to encourage shoppers to use their own reusable bags and ultimately reduce waste.

"Plastic and paper use in stores has seen an eighty-percent reduction, forty-one perfect less bag litter is also being found on our beaches," said Dr. William Spencer. 

A recycling report was released Thursday.  plummeted the carryout bag law.   The findings show that people are becoming more aware of how they shop.

In 2017, five percent of the public brought their own bag to the grocery store. Last year it was 26 percent. In 2017, 71 percent of the public used plastic bags, last year only 28 percent used them. 

"Suffolk County is now using 1.1 billion less plastic bags each year," said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

Statewide, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed banning plastic bags in this year’s budget. The plan is still  being negotiated with lawmakers and could  be decided on by April 1.