SYRACUSE, N.Y.(NCC News)– The enforcement of New York’s plastic bag ban, which was supposed to take effect on March 1 has been pushed off one month, giving business owners a grace period of penalties and fines.
The delay in enforcement comes in response after a court challenge in Albany County; a united group of grocers filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the law. “They argued the new ban is unconstitutional, overly vague, conflicts with other laws and is “arbitrary and capricious,” Marie French of Politico reported.
The change on the enforcement date for the plastic bag ban was well-received by vendors at the Fayetteville Farmers Market who are still adjusting to the transition of acquiring reusable bags.
Derinda Dempster, one of the vendors at the Fayetteville Farmers Market, owns a fudge store that is classified as ‘taxable’, which means she has to transition to paper bags. However, her baked goods, cookies, cakes, aren’t considered taxable. Dempster has decided to transition to paper bags for both of her product lines, as she expressed she finds it confusing which way to go.
“This is giving me time to use up the product that I already have before I switch over to a new product,” Dempster said.”I have two cases of plastic bags still in my shop, and if I was not to use them, that’s $50 a case that I’m losing out for my business.”
Vendor Barb Hamlin from Pied Piper Maple Farm is also a business considered ‘taxable,’ so she has to transition into paper bags. Hamlin mentioned she’s currently working on making her own bags so she can offer those to her customers instead of plastic bags.
“I think it has been positive because people are just getting on board with this, most people who want really healthy organic produced maple syrup are thinking about the environment as well.”
For produce farmers like Mountain Grown Farm, this delay doesn’t really affect them, as they are not affected by the ban.
“The main thing with the New York State plastic bag ban is whether or not you collect sales tax with your business where as produce farms like ours we don’t collect sales tax so we are not subject to it,” Lacey Cashman, one of the vendors at the Fayetteville Farmers Market, explained.
As of April 1, businesses that don’t comply with the Bag Waste Reduction Law, could face up to $500 in fines for each violation, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.