The legislation, signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Earth Day of last year, will cut down on litter across the state, protect wildlife and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic bag production and disposal.
In preparation for the ban, Union Market has created an informational campaign dubbed BYOBag to educate customers on the new law.
“It’s self-explanatory. It’s the right thing for the environment, and we really care,” said Carlos Alfara, director of produce for all Union Market stores. “Our clientele also appreciate the fact that we care about the environment. Yes, it’s going to be a little bit of transition for many stores — being a shortage of bags or whatever it may be — but we wanted to be proactive on it.”
Smaller stores though will be affected by increased costs associated with the ban.
“The price difference is almost triple — paper bags are more expensive,” said Joe Kim, owner of Sunny Delicatessen in Brooklyn Heights.
“In the beginning it will be inconvenient for the customers, but I guess it’s something that you get used to, and then they will start bringing their own bag. I’m trying to get rid of what I have now.”
He said he would keep boxes on hand that he normally throws out just in case people need to carry groceries in them.
One of the owners of Deli & Grocery Fresh Fruit and Vegetables on Henry Street, who did not give her name, said, “We’re all ready. We bought plenty of paper bags.”
New York joins Hawaii and California as one of only three states in the country to enact statewide bans on plastic bags.