Does anyone actually use reusable grocery bags, or do they just exist for the purpose of sitting in our houses and making us feel guilty?

Welp, New Yorkers, here’s a good reason to actually start remembering to reuse those bags: New York State is officially banning plastic bags, and some counties will impose a fee on paper bags too.

New York is the second U.S. state to ban plastic bags after California.

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Governor Andrew Cuomo first proposed the plan last year, and it goes into effect in March 2020. Goodbye, single-use plastic bags! Mostly, anyway. Some types of plastic bags – like newspaper bags or trash bags – will be exempted from the ban.

Instead, customers will have to use either paper bags or reusable bags. Individual counties can opt into a 5-cent fee on paper bags, though it’s not a mandatory part of the new law. The idea, it seems, is to encourage people to use reusable bags as much as possible, rather than paper or plastic.

Photo Credit: iStock

Environmentally speaking, this new law definitely marks progress. Plastic bags are basically the bane of the planet’s existence. They’re hugely wasteful, non-biodegradable, harmful to wildlife, environmentally costly to produce…the list goes on and on.

“These bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. He said the new plan will be a way to “protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”

And the rest of us benefit, too.