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On March 1st, 2020, New York State’s law banning single-use plastic carryout bags took effect. In New York City, businesses are required to collect a 5-cent fee on paper carryout bags from customers, with some exceptions. You can avoid paying the fee by bringing your own reusable bags to stores. 

The ban and fee are efforts to reduce the use of wasteful single-use bags and their negative impact on the environment.

Enforcement of this law began on June 15th, 2020.

Some stores may choose not to switch to paper and may only have reusable bags for purchase. The City does not set prices for reusable bags.

You can get more information about the new law from the State. 

Online

Learn more about the plastic carryout bag ban for consumers and businesses.

By Phone

  • Agency: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Division: Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling
  • Phone Number: (518) 402-8706
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

The New York State Bag Waste Reduction Act authorizes counties and cities to impose a 5-cent paper carryout bag reduction fee on paper carryout bags.

In addition to this 5-cent fee, stores may charge for their cost of a paper bag as a retail sale.

Only SNAP and WIC customers are exempt from the 5-cent paper carryout bag reduction fee. However, if a store is charging more than 5 cents for a paper bag, SNAP and WIC customers must still pay the remaining charge for the bag.

You can get more information or make a complaint about this fee.

Online

Learn more about the paper carryout bag reduction fee.

By Phone

  • Agency: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance
  • Division: New York State Tax Information Center
  • Phone Number: (518) 485-2889
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 8 AM - 5 PM

The following types of bags are exempt from both the plastic bag ban and the paper carryout bag fee:

  • Bags made of plastic provided by a restaurant, tavern or similar food service establishment to carry out or deliver prepared food
  • Bags used only to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish, seafood, or poultry
  • Bags used only to contain or wrap non-prepackaged food, flower, plant, or other item for the purpose of separating it from other items to avoid contamination, prevent damage from moisture, or for sanitary, public health, or environmental protection purposes
  • Bags used only to package items from bulk containers, including:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Grains
    • Candy
    • Small hardware items (such as nuts, bolts, and screws)
    • Live insects
    • Fish, crustaceans, mollusks, or other aquatic items requiring a waterproof bag
  • Bags used only to contain food sliced or prepared to order
  • Bags used only to contain a newspaper for delivery to a subscriber
  • Bags sold in bulk quantities to a consumer at the point of sale that were specifically prepackaged in individual boxes or containers for sale to a customer
  • Trash bags
  • Food storage bags, such as those in snack, sandwich, quart, and gallon sizes
  • Garment bags, such as over-the-hanger bags or those used by a dry cleaner or laundry service
  • Bags provided by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs
  • Reusable bags

All businesses that are required to collect New York State sales tax are subject to the plastic carryout bag ban. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Clothing stores
  • Convenience stores
  • Drug stores
  • Green carts
  • Grocery stores
  • Hardware stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Office supply stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Food service establishments located within the above stores

The paper carryout bag ban does not apply to:

  • Businesses not subject to collecting NYS sales tax
  • Food pantries
  • Soup kitchens

Enforcement of the plastic carryout bag ban law began on June 15th, 2020.

To report a business providing single-use plastic carryout bags, send an email to plasticbags@dec.ny.gov.