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Drowning in bags

Joe Wagner talks to Susanne Gaillgan, also known as the 'Bag Monster,' who has 500 plastic bags attached to her costume, at the Earth Day 2018 event in April in Glens Falls City Park. Warren County is considering a plastic bag ban.

New York could soon say goodbye to single-use plastic bags and hello to expanded bottle recycling.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday two initiatives that he plans to include in the 2019 executive budget: A plastic bag ban and a 5-cent redemption for most non-alcoholic drink containers.

The proposed moves are meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce trash, Cuomo said in a news release.

Cuomo hopes to expand the Bottle Bill, a part of the Solid Waste Management Act, by including all sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit and vegetable beverages and ready-to-drink teas and coffees in the 5-cent redemption category. The governor hopes this will reduce sorting and financial burdens for local government recycling programs.

What may not be included in the proposal are some bottles that contain dairy and dairy substitutes, infant formula, syrups and flavorings, medical prescriptions and dietary supplements.

Amendments would be made, according to a release, addressing implementation issues and feedback from stakeholders. Enhanced penalties could also be a part of the change.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is also directed to study whether wine and liquor bottles could be included in the Act.

Additionally, Cuomo is seeking to ban plastic bags statewide, following recommendations from a task force created in March 2017.

“This ban will help reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic bag production and disposal, from petroleum used to produce the bags to emissions from the transportation of bags to landfills,” the news release said. “DEC will work with stakeholders and community leaders to ensure the roll-out of this initiative does not disproportionately impact low and moderate income and environmental justice communities through the distribution of reusable bags and exemptions where appropriate.”

The Warren County Board of Supervisors has discussed a plastic bag ban, but at the end of October chose to press the pause button as it worked out questions raised by the public.

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