ALBANY -- The days of using plastic bags at the grocery store may be coming to an end.
Gov. Cuomo is considering a ban on single-use shopping bags after New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio called for a ban on plastic bags.
"It's clear that we need to address the real environmental concerns caused by the proliferation of plastic bags, and a ban is one of the options we're reviewing,” Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said in a statement.
The average American family uses around 1,500 plastic bags each year, according to a report by a task force Cuomo commissioned to review the issue.
New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion bags each year, the group said.
Currently, there are 10 cities, towns and villages in New York that have banned single-use plastic bags -- including Cuomo's hometown of New Castle, Westchester County.
A five-cent fee for using plastic bags started in Suffolk County in January.
Cuomo's latest review comes after he signed a bill that barred New York City from imposing a five-cent fee on the use of plastic bags.
De Blasio is again pushing for a ban.
“Let’s do this. We’re going to do this," de Blasio said Monday.
Single-use plastic bags are each used for approximately 12 minutes, according to the task force’s report.
But even the short usage time can leave a long-term impact: Plastic bags can end up in the trash, or blown into trees and waterways and become a problem for wildlife and the environment.
California banned single use plastic bags in 2016.
According to the New York task force report, the ban in California led to less damage done to recycling machines and an increase in the number of people switching to reusable bags.
In 2009, New York enacted a plastic bag reduction, reuse and recycling act as a way for plastic bags to be less detrimental to the environment.
The law requires certain sized stores to collect and recycle used plastic bags, plastic wraps and films.
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper says there is no silver bullet to the issue of addressing plastic bag pollution.
"I think from our perspective, it's going to take a combination of some regulatory framework also some behavioral changes some education that had to go in there voluntary efforts," said Jill Jedlicka, the executive director of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper.
Two years ago, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz proposed a ban on the use of plastic bags at supermarkets, but the idea was rejected by the county legislature.
"I think it's an important conversation to be having you can't deal with the problem until you first address that there is a problem, anytime you can keep plastic waste out of the environment that's a good thing," Jedlicka said.
There are all sort of proposed laws on plastic bags in Albany, from imposing a tax, to targeting retailers and restaurants or just grocery stores. We'll have to see if Senate Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly will get anything done on statewide plastic bag legislation.