Malverne Jewish Center to host discussion on New York's ban on plastic bags


Under an agreement reached as part of the state budget passed by lawmakers earlier this year, plastic bags will be banned in all New York retail stores starting next March. With the agreement, New York has become the second state to ban plastic bags (California was the first). While New York has continued to make strides towards a green environment, nonprofit organizations such as All Our Energy hope to continue the conversation to keep Nassau County residents informed.

The Malverne Jewish Center will host a free screening of the documentary film, “Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic?” on Tuesday, July 9, at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a discussion led by All Our Energy executive director George Povall on the state’s plastic bag law.

“It’s an uplifting, funny movie that teaches people about the effects of plastic bags on our environment,” Povall said of the documentary. “It’s a great way to get the conversation going.”

Under the plan, counties can opt to require a 5-cent fee on paper bags — 3 cents of which would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund, used to expand New York’s Forest Preserve and restore historic sites. The other two cents would go to counties to purchase and hand out reusable shopping bags to residents. Povall said that while state’s decision was a huge step, more works needs to be done.

“It’s certainly a huge step, but it’s not the final step,” Povall said. “There’s still a lot of change that we need to occur for the state to fully make that transition, but it’s a good start.”

All Our Energy, which formed in 2014, is a Point Lookout-based group that strives to educate and empower the public to support renewable energy and act on environmental issues. Most of their activist work has been done on the South Shore, which includes local movements in Rockville Centre, Long Beach and other communities in recent years to eliminate single-use plastic bag pollution.

“What I’ve noticed in our group’s public discussions is that people really get it,” Povall said. “It’s a grassroots effort to get involved, but they have some great ideas.”

Povall said the group also hopes to promote other initiatives such as the Plastic Free July challenge, a national campaign that aims to reduce plastic waste to zero.

“We hope that the plastic bag ban is just the beginning,” Povall said. “We believe that this can lead to other meaningful movements as well. The vast majority of people we speak to are on board with it. Once they see their neighbor is doing it, it creates a spark that spreads throughout the community. We hope to see that kind of spark in Malverne.”