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The Bag Waste Reduction Law, often referred to as a plastic bag ban, prohibits the distribution of plastic carryout bags by anyone required to collect New York State sales tax. More information about the law can be found at the NYS DEC website.

A local law is also in effect that applies a $.05 fee to all paper bags provided to customers of retail establishments in Tompkins County. This incentivizes the repeated use of durable, reusable bags. The fee does not apply to recipients of SNAP and WIC. Part of the revenue from the paper bag fee is used towards distributing reusable bags to lower income residents.

The DEC encourages New Yorkers to take common sense precautions to keep their reusable bags clean. They recommend keeping meat, fish or poultry, fresh produce, and ready to eat foods in separate bags to reduce the spread of germs. Reusable bags should be washed regularly. The New York State Department of Health provides best practices for cleaning your reusable bag on their website.

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