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DEC Releases Final Plastic Bag - Adds Exemptions for Plastic Carryout Bags and Reusable Bags

As provided in proposed Part 351 draft regulations:

'Plastic carryout bag' means any film plastic bag, other than an exempt bag, that is provided to a customer by a person required to collect tax to be used by the customer to carry tangible personal property, regardless of whether such person required to collect tax sells any tangible personal property or service to the customer, and regardless of whether any tangible personal property or service sold is exempt from tax under Article 28 of the New York State Tax Law.

'Exempt bag' means a bag that is:

  • Used solely to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish, seafood, poultry, or other unwrapped food, flower, or plant item;
  • Used by a customer solely to package items from bulk containers, including fruits, vegetables, grains, candy, small hardware items (such as nuts, bolts, and screws), live fish, or live insects;
  • Used solely to contain food sliced or prepared to order;
  • Used solely to contain a newspaper for delivery to a subscriber;
  • Sold in bulk quantities to a consumer at the point of sale that were specifically prepackaged in a manner to allow for bulk sale (for example, quantities of bags prepackaged in individual pre-sealed boxes) or prepackaged in individual boxes or containers for sale to a customer;
  • Sold as a trash bag;
  • Sold as a food storage bag, such as those in snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon sizes;
  • Used as a garment bag, such as those used by a dry cleaner or laundry service;
  • Provided by a restaurant, tavern, or similar food service establishment, as defined in the state sanitary code, to carry out or deliver food;
  • Provided by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs;
  • A reusable bag, as that term is defined in proposed Part 351 draft regulations; or
  • A film plastic bag for which there is no reasonable or practical alternative for storing, containing or transporting items, as determined by the department.

As provided in proposed Part 351 draft regulations:

'Reusable bag' means a bag that:

  • Is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuses;
  • Has a minimum lifespan of 125 uses, with a use equal to the ability to carry a minimum of 22 pounds over a distance of at least 175 feet;
  • Holds at least 22 pounds for the duration of the lifespan of the bag;
  • Has at least one strap or handle that is separately attached, does not stretch and is fastened to the bag in such a manner that it allows the bag to meet the strength and durability standards in paragraphs 351-1.2(n)(2) and (3) of proposed Part 351 draft regulations, unless otherwise approved by the department; and
  • Is hand washable or machine washable;
    • Has a minimum thickness of 10 mils for bags made of petroleum-based or non-petroleum-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or other plastic material of petroleum or non-petroleum origin;
    • Has a minimum fabric weight of 80 grams per square meter (GSM) for bags made of any non-film plastic of natural, synthetic, petroleum based, or non-petroleum-based origin, including woven or nonwoven polypropylene (PP), polyethylene-terephthalate (PET), cotton, jute, or canvas; is made of a combination of the materials specified in subparagraphs 351-1.2(n)(5)(i) and (ii) of proposed Part 351 draft regulations; or
    • has a design of equivalent material strength and durability, as approved by the department.
On Monday, the Department of Environmental Conservation released a list of changes to the statewide ban on single-use plastic bags that takes effect on March 1. After reviewing about 2,500 public comments received over 60 days, the Conservation Department proposed edits to the definitions of “exempt” and “reusable.” The Department deleted sections while clarifying and adding examples in others.


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