Requires retail businesses to restricting the use of non-compostable plastic bags by fifty percent of the current volume by 2012 and completely ban the use of such bags by 2014; defines terms; provides injunctive relief and enforcement by the attorney general.
BILL NUMBER: S544
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the general business law, in relation to requiring retail businesses to restrict the use of non-compostable plastic bags
PURPOSE : Requires retail businesses to restrict the use of non-compostable plastic bags.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1: Amends the general business law by adding new section 398-e. Section 398-e provides that all retail business will restrict the use of noncompostable plastic bags by 50% by 2012 and by 2014 all non-compostable plastic bags will be banned. Section 398-e also provides that by January 1, 2015 retail stores can use recyclable paper bags, compostable bags and/or reusable bags as checkout bags. Section 399-e also provides definitions. Section 2: Effective Date.
EXISTING LAW : None.
JUSTIFICATION : Americans use about 30 billion plastic bags per year. In the United States about 80% of plastic bags end up in landfills. The rest end up as litter. It is a common occurrence to find plastic bags on the side of the road or in the branches of trees. Plastic bags are among the 12 items of debris most often found in coastal cleanups. In addition, plastic bags are not regularly recycled. In fact, only 0.6% of plastic bags are recycled in the United States. Furthermore, plastic bags are made from oil which is a nonrenewable resource. The environmental impact of plastic bags is a reason to seek eco-friendly alternatives. It is time for New York to begin to phase out the use of plastic bags in favor of alternatives that are compostable or reusable.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : 2007-2008 -Rules
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 544 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 7, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sen. ALESI -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to requiring retail businesses to restrict the use of non-compostable plastic bags THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 398-e to read as follows: S 398-E. REQUIRE BUSINESSES TO RESTRICT USE OF NON-COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC BAGS. 1. BY NOVEMBER THIRTIETH, TWO THOUSAND TWELVE, ALL RETAIL BUSI- NESSES SHALL RESTRICT THE USE OF NON-COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC BAGS BY FIFTY PERCENT OF THE CURRENT VOLUME AND BY TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN, ALL NON-COM- POSTABLE PLASTIC BAGS SHALL BE BANNED FROM USE IN THIS STATE. SUCH RETAIL BUSINESSES SHALL SUBMIT A REPORT DOCUMENTING THE REDUCTION IN USAGE OF NON-COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC BAGS TO THE DEPARTMENT ON OR BEFORE NOVEMBER THIRTIETH, TWO THOUSAND TWELVE. 2. ON AND AFTER JANUARY FIRST, TWO THOUSAND FIFTEEN, ALL RETAIL BUSI- NESSES SHALL PROVIDE AS CHECKOUT BAGS TO CUSTOMERS: RECYCLABLE PAPER BAGS; AND/OR COMPOSTABLE BAGS; AND/OR REUSABLE BAGS. 3. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, THE FOLLOWING TERMS SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING MEANINGS: A. "CHECKOUT BAG" TO MEAN A BAG PROVIDED BY A STORE AT THE POINT OF SALE FOR CUSTOMERS TO CARRY THEIR GOODS OUT OF THE STORE. B. "STORE" SHALL MEAN ANY "RETAIL MERCANTILE ESTABLISHMENT" AS DEFINED BY SECTION TWO HUNDRED SEVENTEEN OF THIS CHAPTER AND/OR FOOD STORE. C. "COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC BAG" MEANS A PLASTIC BAG THAT MEETS THE CURRENT AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR TESTING AND MATERIALS INTERNATIONAL STAND- ARD (ASTM) D6400 FOR COMPOSTABLE PLASTIC, AS THAT STANDARD MAY BE AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01369-01-9 S. 544 2
D. "RECYCLABLE PAPER BAG" MEANS A PAPER BAG THAT MEETS ALL THE FOLLOW- ING REQUIREMENTS: CONTAINS NO OLD GROWTH FIBER; IS ONE HUNDRED PERCENT RECYCLABLE OVERALL AND CONTAINS A MINIMUM OF FORTY PERCENT POST-CONSUMER RECYCLED CONTENT; AND DISPLAYS THE WORDS "REUSABLE" AND "RECYCLABLE". E. "REUSABLE BAG" MEANS A BAG WITH HANDLES THAT IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED FOR MULTIPLE REUSE AND IS EITHER MADE OF CLOTH OR OTHER MACHINE WASHABLE FABRIC AND/OR MADE OF DURABLE PLASTIC THAT IS AT LEAST 2.25 MILS THICK. F. "DEPARTMENT" SHALL MEAN THE CONSUMER PROTECTION BOARD. 4. WHENEVER THERE SHALL BE A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION, AN APPLICATION MAY BE MADE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO A COURT OR JUSTICE HAVING JURISDICTION BY A SPECIAL PROCEEDING TO ISSUE AN INJUNCTION, AND UPON NOTICE TO THE DEFENDANT OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE DAYS, TO ENJOIN AND RESTRAIN THE CONTINUANCE OF SUCH VIOLATIONS; AND IF IT SHALL APPEAR TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE COURT OR JUSTICE THAT THE DEFENDANT HAS, IN FACT, VIOLATED THIS SECTION, AN INJUNCTION MAY BE ISSUED BY SUCH COURT OR JUSTICE, ENJOINING AND RESTRAINING ANY FURTHER VIOLATION, WITHOUT REQUIRING PROOF THAT ANY PERSON HAS, IN FACT, BEEN INJURED OR DAMAGED THEREBY. WHENEVER THE COURT SHALL DETERMINE THAT A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION HAS OCCURRED, THE COURT MAY IMPOSE A CIVIL PENALTY OF NOT MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR SUCH VIOLATION. IN CONNECTION WITH ANY SUCH APPLICATION, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO TAKE PROOF AND MAKE A DETERMINATION OF THE RELEVANT FACTS AND TO ISSUE SUBPOENAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL PRAC- TICE LAW AND RULES. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.