Albany County Legislature Opts-in to State’s Five Cent Bag Fee
Local Law D Adopted in 22-14 vote
The Albany County Legislature has adopted “The Albany County Reusable Shopping Bag Incentive Act,” instituting a fee on paper bags to incentivize the use of reusable shopping bags in Albany County establishments.
Legislators voted 22-14 to adopt Local Law D for 2019, which comports with the NYS Environmental Conservation Law that institutes a ban on plastic bags beginning in March 2020. Local Law D would institute a five cent fee for all paper shopping bags beginning at the same time.
“Albany County's bag fee local law is a step in the right direction to ensure that the state's plastic bag ban doesn't result in a new problem of overuse of paper bags. A fee on paper bags will help to incentivize consumers to bring their own reusable bags. This is the goal we are aiming for - reduce plastic use and reuse our bags when we shop,” Legislator Joanne Cunningham, sponsor of Local Law D, said.
Chair Andrew Joyce stated, “The Albany County Legislature has made it a priority to address environmental issues such as waste reduction in Albany County. We applaud Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature for taking a mutual stand by banning plastic bags state-wide and this fee takes that one step further.”
As dictated by the State law, 40 percent of the fee would be provided to Albany County for purposes of offsetting costs of the purchase of reusable bags for County residents, particularly those of lowincome or limited means, as well as to provide funds for programs and other initiatives to help incentivize and educate Albany County residents to switch to reusable bags. The fee does not apply to any customer using the supplemental nutrition assistance program or special nutrition program for women, infants and children.