Store owners worry impending plastic bag ban will cost them and their customers more

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A ban on single-use plastic bags is set to go into effect in less than two months, but some business owners are worried how the legislation will impact their customers.

Salvatore Bonavita owns two Bonavita Key Food stores in the Bronx and is an environmentally conscious person. His store on Lydig Avenue has solar panels, environmentally friendly refrigeration systems and produce curtains. But the impending ban on single-use plastic bags has him concerned.

"It'll take longer to check out, people will get more frustrated, it’ll be more difficult for them to carry their purchases back home," Bonavita says.

The law that is set to go into effect on March 1 bans single-use plastic bags and offers the option of a five-cent fee for paper bags, which is not only going to cost customers more, but store owners as well.

Bonavita says he typically spends about three cents per bag for his plastic bags, but paper ones will run him about 13 cents each. He says the five-cent fee will not go to him, with a portion going to the state's Environmental Protection Fund.

"You know, these customers will come in here and have one, two, three, four, five plastic bags there. Now, if instead of plastic bags they have to buy five paper bags, well now they're spending a lot more money than they had originally anticipated," Bonavita says.

The goal of ban is to help out the environment. According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, over 23 billion plastic bags are used in New York every year, posing a threat to waterways, the environment and wildlife.

Stores will still be allowed to offer plastic bags for items like raw meat and fruits and vegetables.

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