Cuomo putting muscle behind proposed statewide plastic-bag ban

Gov. Cuomo on Sunday said he is putting his muscle behind a statewide proposal to ban the use of plastic shopping bags as part of a green campaign to curb litter.

Cuomo first introduced a bill to ban the bags in April, but it didn’t pass the Legislature.

This time, he’s including the measure in his executive budget plan, which will be introduced Tuesday — a sign that he’s serious in persuading lawmakers to approve the ban on the bags, considered an environmental scourge because they are non-biodegradable.

The state legislature would still have to vote for the ban, but only as part of a massive spending bill, making its passage more likely.

Cuomo stirred controversy in 2017 when he blocked a New York City plan to impose a 5-cent fee on plastic shopping bags to curb use, arguing it made more sense to regulate the bags on a statewide level. He then created a task force to study the issue.

The governor also said he wants almost every nonalcoholic drink container able to be redeemed for 5 cents to curb waste. It’s an extension of the state’s “Bottle Bill” law approved by his dad, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, some 30 years ago.

The Bottle Bill expansion will include some exceptions for bottles containing dairy milk, milk substitutes, infant formula, syrups and flavorings, medical prescriptions and dietary supplements.

The governor will also direct the state Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct a study on how the bottle law could be further expanded to include wine and liquor bottles.

“While the federal government is taking our environmental progress backwards and selling out our communities to polluters and oil companies, in New York we are moving forward with the nation’s strongest environmental policies and doing everything in our power to protect our natural resources for future generations,” Cuomo said.

“These bold actions to ban plastic bags and promote recycling will reduce litter in our communities, protect our water and create a cleaner and greener New York for all.”