Blogs > Take Action > Thousands of New Yorkers Urge Albany to Pass the New York State Bring Your Own Bag Act

Thousands of New Yorkers Urge Albany to Pass the New York State Bring Your Own Bag Act

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By Allie Granger, Advocacy & Engagement Intern

On June 6th, Riverkeeper joined forces with dozens of allied environmental and community organizations in Albany for the first New York State Bring Your Own Bag Act Advocacy Day. During our 7th Annual Riverkeeper Sweep, participants cleaned up 38 tons of trash and helped collect thousands of petition signatures from across New York State. We brought the voices of our members and supporters to Albany to urge action to end single-use plastic bag pollution.

The BYOBag Act Advocacy Day kicked off with a press conference in the War Room of the New York State Capitol, a fitting and symbolic location given the stakes in our fight for waters free from plastics. Two sponsors of the NYS Bring Your Own Bag Act joined us, Senator Liz Krueger and Senator Brad Hoylman, who not only reiterated their support, but also gave powerful remarks on the pressing need for their legislation and urged their fellow legislators to sign on. We hand-delivered our message of more than 5,000 signatures to the Governor’s office in reusable bags.

Advocates met with 18 legislative offices, plus four in district, to urge members of the Senate and Assembly to sign on to the NYS BYOBag Act S7760/A9953. This bill bans single-use plastic bags and places a 10-cent fee on alternative bags, a model that has proven to be effective in curbing plastic bag use and encouraging the use of reusable bags. In addition to the 22 meetings and roughly 5,000 petitions delivered to the Governor’s office, nearly 800 New Yorkers participated in the BYOBag Act Advocacy Day by calling in and urging the Governor’s support of the ban/fee hybrid legislation.

We delivered our message to the Governor and State legislators just days after marine officials in Thailand discovered nearly 80 plastic bags in the stomach of a dead pilot whale. If we continue with unrelenting consumption of single-use plastic, it is predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. In an attempt to address the plastic pollution within its own borders, India announced its plan to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022.

With the help of our partners and everyone who signed a petition and made phone calls, the BYOBag Act Advocacy Day was a huge success. While we were able to gain support and create a much-needed dialogue, our work is not done yet. Until the NYS Bring Your Own Bag Act passes, we will continue to fight for common-sense plastic bag policies. Add your name to the thousands of New Yorkers supporting the NYS BYOBag Act.

With only a few days remaining in the legislative session, the question remains: Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, what will it be? Our planet or plastic?

Allie Granger is new to Riverkeeper, joining our team in May 2018 as our Summer Advocacy and Engagement Intern. She received a BA in Political Science in 2016 and is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Environmental Policy from Pace University.

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