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Hofstra reacts to plastic bag ban

Hofstra reacts to plastic bag ban

Image courtesy of Emily Sauchelli//Hofstra Chronicle

On Monday, April 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made an Earth Day announcement officially banning the sale of single-use plastic bags in New York. The legislation will go into effect next spring, according to the governor’s website. Hofstra students and faculty share their beliefs on how the ban will affect the university’s environmental impact.

“The ban takes effect as of March 1, 2020, and we will work closely with the campus community in creating an alternative by then,” said Lisa Ospitale, district marketing coordinator of Compass Group. We will also need to see how the law is translated for college campuses and if college campuses fall under any of the exceptions; otherwise it is a state law so we will have to follow it as it is laid out.”

According to Ospitale, students are always encouraged to bring their environmental concerns to Compass. “We are always working with the campus community, specifically Hofstra students, in order to look at how we can make environmental changes.”

In the past fall semester, Compass introduced a straw-less initiative to the Student Center Café, Medical School and the Café on the Corner. ”Because of student requests, we were able to work with Dunkin' in order to allow us to switch from Styrofoam to paper cups for all hot beverages,” she said. Ospitale says reusable bags are always welcome in any of Compass’ dining locations.

According to Governor Cuomo’s website, the plastic bag ban will prevent littering and help to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and disposal of plastic bags. The new piece of legislation bans single-use plastic takeout bags and provides DEC-exclusive jurisdiction over all matters related to plastic bags.

There are a few exceptions to the ban, including garment bags, trash bags and any bags used to wrap or act as food containers. New York State counties or cities will be permitted to charge a five cent fee for single-use paper bags. Three cents of that fee will go to the Environmental Protection Fund, while the other two cents will go to the locality to pay for distribution of reusable bags.

The step Governor Cuomo has taken for the environment in New York will also affect the Hofstra community.

“I believe it is a really good thing and I’m happy he’s taking this stand for the environment. I already try to bring my reusable shopping bags to the store as much as I can remember. Some people might see it as an inconvenience but I think over time they will adjust and see it as a good thing,” said senior political science major Victoria Buckley. “Hopefully, now with this ban we are going to be led down a path of a more [environmentally] friendly state.”

 “I think banning plastic is an excellent idea and step in the right direction towards making New York more sustainable. I was happy to hear of the governor’s plan,” said junior sustainability studies major Lauren Jenkins.

 “I would say the four main environmental issues facing New York right now are congestion, water quality, food waste and renewable energy,” Buckley said. “In large part, NY is a progressive state, and with the Democrats in control of Albany I think in the coming years we will see multiple solutions proposed to address these issues.”

With this new ban taking shape for New York, Hofstra students hope to see environmental changes to the University as a whole in the coming years.

 “The plastic containers used for food can easily be swapped for environmentally friendly ones. In addition, Hofstra needs to have more recycling bins around campus. I don’t see why we are lagging behind some other universities with our lack of solar panels. I think it’s an investment that would pay itself off overtime and show potential Hofstra students that Hofstra cares about environmental sustainability.,” Buckley said.

“Hofstra could use more renewable energy across campus such as solar panels. Additionally, I believe there should be more recycling options,” Jenkins said.

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