Plastic bag ban could lead to paper bag shortage, according to study

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) –   23 billion New Yorkers use plastic bags each year, according to state numbers, and starting March 1, they will have to find another way to carry their groceries and while some think this will be good to reduce plastic waste, but others say the ban on plastic bags could cause huge shortages in paper and reusable bags in new york.

Shoppers throughout New York will have to find another way to carry out groceries after a plastic bag ban takes effect.

The American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, which represents manufacturers and recyclers of plastic bags throughout the country, says this could cause huge problems, according to a market study.

“There are two components there. Obviously you have the shortage of paper bags but you also have a questionable supply of reusable bags,” Matt Seaholm, executive director of the American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance, said.

The study, published by the Freedonia Custom Research, gives the best and worst-case scenarios for the demand for paper bags after the ban. According to them, if 15 percent of single-use plastic bag users switched to reusable totes, the remaining demand for paper bags would be nearly 3.4 billion units. On the other side, if 90% of users switched to reusable totes, the demand for paper bags would still be 738 million units.

“Even in the best-case scenario, where you have the most number of people switching over to reusable bags, you still have a 1 billion bags shortage per year just in new york and that’s why this law is just not workable at the moments,” said Seaholm.

Vendors at the Rochester Public Market will still be able to use the plastics bags they have stocked up and will continue for things like produces and raw meat but many say they are more than prepared for the plastic bag ban, and think it’s a good step for the environment.

“I’m glad we do you know and I know that Wegmans has already banned theirs and I think it’s for a good cause,” said Rhian Wilson, part owner the Wilson Produce Stand.

The State Department of Environmental Conservation is launching a campaign called
#BYObagNY to educate new yorkers on these new regulations.

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