By Gabrielle Riles, SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)- A Syracuse environmental expert claims the state’s pending plastic bag ban is not crucial to helping the environment–and may actually hurt it.
The New York statewide ban of plastic bags will go into effect in March of 2020.
This past week two Wegmans locations in Ithaca and Corning did an early start of removing plastic bags. Environmental expert in plastic pollution, Laura Markley, explains how the removal of plastic bags in grocery stores does not have a positive impact on the environment.
“Studies have shown that if you ban plastic bags people are going to use paper bags which has a higher environmental impact,” says Markley, “there is still more resource usage with paper.”
The alternative to plastic bags in those two upstate Wegmans locations is now paper bags. Paper bags require a 5-cent fee for each bag.
“Manufacturing paper uses more resources is worst for the environment,” says Markley.
The paper bag alternative creates a higher demand for the need of the in-store option. Paper bags are much less efficient than plastic. Most stores double up bagging on paper bags so they won’t rip or tear.
Markel believes that grocery stores like Wegmans should turn to solely providing reusable cotton bags.
“Cotton reusable bags have to be reused around 131 times to equal the efficiency of creating just one plastic bag which has a lot to do with water usage,” says Markley.
Wegmans is the first of the chain grocery stores in upstate New York to begin to discontinue providing plastic bags. By the end of the year, all Wegmans locations will no longer have the option of plastic bags.