Reusable bags NYC. Photo by Jon Tyson

By Orik Ehren, age 13

In a landmark piece of legislation, the state of New York has banned the distribution of nonbiodegradable single-use bags by retail stores from March 1, 2020. With consumers now being encouraged to bring their own or buy 5-cent paper bags. The move will likely have the immediate impact of decreasing plastic waste and microplastic contamination in sewers and the ocean.

However, some are pushing for a strengthening of the measures by enforcing use of reusable bags as opposed to promoting the use of paper bags. The New York Times reported that state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, argued that paper is no better than plastic.