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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Plastic Bag Labeling

Where must a request for approval of an alternative plastic bag recycling message to the Department of Environmental Conservation be submitted?

A store may apply to the Department for an alternative plastic bag recycling message in writing to:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Materials Management
Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-7253

Or by e-mail to: recycling@dec.ny.gov

Or by fax to: (518) 402-9024
Attention: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Materials Management
Bureau of Waste Reduction and Recycling
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233-7253

Does the law's mention of chains that operate five or more stores mean that a chain must have at least 5 stores in New York State with more than 5,000 square feet of retail space, or just 5 stores that meet this size requirement?

The Law applies to chains with five or more stores of over 5,000 square feet of retail space located in New York State.

Can a plastic bag manufacturer request approval of an alternative plastic bag recycling message?

The law expressly provides that a store may apply for approval of an alternative message. Therefore, while the Department may be able to provide advice and guidance to a plastic bag manufacturer, it may not approve a proposed alternative plastic bag recycling message unless the request is from a store, as defined in the law.

If a store wishes to label their plastic bags with the exact language identified in the Law, do they need to inform the Department, register, or request any approval?

No.

Is a store allowed to place other statements on their plastic bags in addition to the required plastic bag recycling message?

Other statements are allowed as long as they do not contradict or interfere with the required labeling statement.

What about a plastic bag recycling message that uses the labeling statement required under New York City's requirements, as provided in the New York City Plastic Carryout Bag Recycling Law: Local Law 1 (2008)?

The message required under New York City Local Law 1 of 2008 -"PLEASE USE OR RECYCLE AT A PARTICIPATING STORE" - is an acceptable message that stores may use without seeking specific approval from the Department. However, a store must apply to the Department for approval of any other alternative plastic bag recycling message.

Is there a set minimum labeling size and location that would satisfy, "in a manner visible to a consumer"?

In order to be adequately visible to a consumer, the statement should be located on the outside face of the bag and the lettering should be at least one-half inch in height.

How soon must stores comply with this law?

Stores are expected to be in compliance with this law on the effective date of the law, which was January 1, 2009. However, stores are allowed to use their existing stock of plastic carryout bags for one year, until January 1, 1010.

What happens if stores fail to comply with the law?

The law provides that upon the first finding of a violation, a store will be issued a warning without penalty. The penalty for a second violation is $100 and the penalty for a third or subsequent violation is $500.

Additional Frequently asked questions on the law may be found on the Department's website.


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    Division of Materials Management
    Bureau of Waste Reduction & Recycling
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-7253
    518-402-8706
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