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Flushing Champions Martial Arts Taekwondo School
Flushing residents can pick up a free usable bag this Saturday at Champions Martial Arts Taekwondo School at at 141-20 Northern Blvd.

With the plastic bag ban in New York City set to take effect March 1, when businesses will be required to collect a five-cent fee on paper carryout bags from customers, a Flushing Martial Arts Center is preparing to donate free reusable bags to the community. 

On Saturday, Feb. 29, Flushing Champions Martial Arts Taekwondo School will be hosting a reusable bag giveaway at 10 a.m. at 141-20 Northern Blvd. 

“We have 1,000 bags and would love to give it out to anyone who needs a bag,” said Michael Ro, owner of Flushing Champions Martial Arts. “They will no longer give out plastic bags and are charging customers to purchase paper bags and charging even more for reusable bags from their store.” 

Community residents can also pick up a free usable bag at Councilman Peter Koo’s giveaway at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the local Flushing supermarket, SkyFoods at Skyview Center, located at 4024 College Point Blvd.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), all plastic carryout bags (other than an exempt bag) are banned from distribution by anyone required to collect New York state sales tax.

Under the law, customers will be charged five cents for each paper carryout bag provided at checkout. To avoid paying a fee, customers can also bring in their own reusable bags.In areas that have adopted the five-cent paper carryout bag fee, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children, a nutrition program) recipients are exempt from paying the fee.

Meanwhile, some bags are exempt under the law. Plastic bags may still be distributed to customers in a few specific circumstances, such as a bag used by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs, and produce bags for bulk items such as fruits and vegetables. 

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