A tip of the cap to Madison County for opting out of a portion of the new New York State law than bans single-use, plastic grocery bags.

They can't opt of the portion that bans the plastic ones, but Madison County is saying 'No Thanks' to the part that would require grocery stores to charge consumers 5-cents per paper bag. Yes - New York State, and your grocer, are going to charge you for paper bags.

Three cents would go the state, and two cents to the county.

Whether you're a person who supports the plastic bag ban or think it's stupid, please explain this: Why are we penalizing people for using paper bags instead of plastic?

Think about those brown paper bags we used to get at the supermarket - I know, they almost immediately rip when wet and aren't as durable as plastic. Fair point.

But, they're made from (or can and should be made from recycled paper products), they themselves are also recyclable and they obviously degrade and deteriorate much faster than plastic when in a landfill.

So, again, why are we charging people a nickle for something that has always been free? And is environmentally friendly!?!

Advocates who support the fee-for-formerly-free-paper bags think you should use one of the reusable, larger bags that you usually find for sale near the checkout line. But, aren't those made from plastic, too. And, while you'll get months if not years of use from them, you won't use it forever will you? So at some point, those durable, long lasting (and in some cases very fashionable) plastic bags will go to the landfill, where they'll last even longer!

It's probably where they'll stay forever (or close to it as far as you're concerned) laying next to millions upon millions of paper grocery bags that are biodegrading and not damaging our environment.

So why the fee?

The real answer is likely that Governor Cuomo saw an opportunity to create a new tax or fee on you. By doing it under the guise of environmental protection and saving the planet by removing plastics from the waste stream, he and the New York State legislature have created a whole new revenue stream - while simultaneously encouraging you to purchase plastic bags that will ultimately wind up in your local landfill anyway.

If you're a fan of those single use plastic bags you get at the grocery store and do have a good use for them (like to clean up what your dog leaves behind in the yard, or as a liner in small trash cans), start saving them. New York's plastic bag ban goes into effect March 1, 2020.

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