Albany, NY – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the New York State Plastic Bag Task Force. The Task Force will be led by state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos along with co-chairs Senator Thomas O’Mara and Assemblyman Steve Englebright. The working group will be charged with developing a report and proposed legislation to address the detrimental impact of plastic bags on the state’s environment.
“New York has led the nation by taking bold action to protect our environment – and this task force marks another step forward in that effort,” Governor Cuomo said. “The costly and negative impact of plastic bags on New York’s natural resources is a statewide issue that demands a statewide solution. This diverse coalition of experts will bring the experience and knowledge necessary to tackle this problem and safeguard New York’s environment for future generations.”
Members of the Task Force will work to develop a uniform and equitable statewide plan to address New York’s plastic bag problem. The Task Force will review information from municipalities about their experiences and proposed solutions. Members of the Task Force include:
• Basil Seggos, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
• Senator Thomas O’Mara, New York State Senate
• Assemblyman Steve Englebright, New York State Assembly
• Stephen Acquario, Executive Director, New York State Association of Counties
• Marcia Bystryn, New York League of Conservation Voters
• Michael Rosen, Food Industry Alliance
Across New York, residents use 23 billion plastic bags annually. A significant number of these bags make their way into the environment causing litter and damaging wildlife, which can be seen within our waterways, along our streets and in our oceans and lakes. Moreover, these bags do not biodegrade — they persist for years.
The New York City Department of Sanitation currently estimates that it collects an average of 1,700 tons of plastic bags per week, costing $12.5 million per year in disposal expenses. As states across the nation struggle with the environmental and financial costs associated plastic bags – New York will lead the way in developing a comprehensive statewide solution.