What to know about the upcoming plastic bag ban

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

All plastic carryout bags will be banned in stores throughout New York State starting on March 1. Under the new law, which passed last March, plastic carryout bags will not be distributed to consumers at any businesses that collect New York State sales tax, and stores will be implementing a five-cent paper carry-out bag fee.

The five-cent fee on paper bags will not apply to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) recipients and all consumers are encouraged to bring their own bags to reduce waste. Film plastics will still be used on items such as bread bags, cases of water, paper towels and other similar items, and customers are encouraged to recycle those items at participating retailers.

There are still some bags that are exempt from the law and can still be distributed to customers under limited circumstances, including produce bags for fruits and vegetables and bags used by pharmacies for prescription drugs.

State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein were both cosponsors of bills that passed in the state legislature last year banning single-use plastic bags, and the elected officials penned an op-ed for Town & Village last week, outlining the ban’s importance for the environment.

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Susan B. Anthony honored in Madison Square Park

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer honored the suffragette for her birthday. (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and nonprofit organization Monumental Women honored Susan B. Anthony and her contribution to women’s rights on the occasion of her 200th birthday last week in Madison Square Park.

Although the celebration was held last Friday on Valentine’s Day, Anthony was actually born on February 15, 1820. Brewer issued a proclamation declaring the day of her birth “Susan B. Anthony Day” and those in attendance to celebrate the suffragette also celebrated a new statue that will debut in Central Park later this year, honoring Anthony as well as suffragists and abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

“As we all know, it’ll be the first statue of women in Central Park,” Brewer said. “Alice in Wonderland does not count. We are approaching the centennial ratification of the 19th amendment and women’s suffrage, and taking this stand for equality makes for a perfect preview for the legacy of Susan B. Anthony. And it’s very fitting that on the anniversary this year in August, Monumental Women will launch their women’s history campaign with a challenge to municipalities around the United States helping communities explore what they can do to honor all the women that make up our constituents.”

Pam Elam, president of Monumental Women, said that the area around Madison Square Park has a special significance for Susan B. Anthony and women’s suffrage, since Anthony once lived on East 23rd Street near Park Avenue South and the National Women’s Suffrage Association, founded by Anthony, was located on East 23rd Street near Madison Avenue.

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