On March 1, 2020, New York State’s law banning single-use plastic carryout bags takes effect. In New York City, businesses will also be required to collect a 5-cent fee on paper carryout bags from customers.

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

If you pay using SNAP or WIC, you will not be charged any paper bag fees. Stores must provide SNAP and WIC users with free carryout bags. No other customers are exempt from this fee.

You can avoid paying the fee by bringing your own reusable bags to stores. Stores are required to sell reusable bags for customers. You can also get a free reusable bag from giveaways sponsored by the Department of Sanitation.

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

Online

Learn more about the carryout bag ban and fee.

Learn more about the carryout bag ban and fee for 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

Stores that are covered by the Bag Waste Reduction Law 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 fee does not apply to food pantries or soup kitchens.

Bags are exempt from both the plastic bag ban and the paper carryout bag fee if they are:

  • Used only to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish or poultry
  • Used by a consumer only to package bulk items such as fruits, vegetables, grains, or candy
  • Used only to contain food sliced or prepared to order
  • Used only to contain a newspaper for delivery to a subscriber
  • Sold in bulk to a consumer at the point of sale
  • Trash bags
  • Food storage bags
  • Garment bags
  • Prepackaged for sale to a customer
  • Provided by a restaurant, tavern, or similar food service establishment to carry out or deliver food
  • Provided by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs

You can get a free reusable carryout bag at giveaway events throughout the City.

The Department of Sanitation also offers a free bag if you pledge to reduce, reuse, and recycle trash.

Learn about giveaway events for carryout bags.