By March 1st New York State will join seven other states in a statewide plastic bag ban. The call has sounded for an end to handing out of disposable single use plastic bags. To prevent further plastic bag distribution New York City has also introduced a paper bag alternative at 5 cents apiece.
This announcement by the DEC is in response to the estimated 23 billion plastic bags that are used by New Yorkers annually. Despite their temporary convenience their ultimate destination is beyond control. More and more plastic bags are finding their way into landfills, nature & waterways with catastrophic environmental effects.
What are the Implications?
This statewide plastic ban law is effective from March 1, but it’ll still be some months before the DEC enforces this completely. There’ll be a warning for retailers who infringe this law the first-time, but a $250 dollar fine follows thereafter.
Where do Pharmacies Fit In?
Not every type of plastic bag will be prohibited. Among the exemptions in the DEC’s regulations are plastic bags for pharmacy prescription drugs. The simple reason: for health and privacy; which doesn’t deviate from the originally written law.
Pharmacies can still maintain their level of professionalism by ensuring their patients’ health and privacy will be protected. With the ever-increasing global discussions about plastic and its detrimental impacts, one might question how eco-friendly plastic pharmacy bags really are.
Could more pharmacies start issuing paper bags with their prescription drugs as other pharmacies worldwide are being encouraged to do? Only time will tell.