Local City Council Members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin joined City Council colleagues, environmental advocates, and local retailers at City Hall yesterday morning to announce new legislation for dramatically reducing plastic bag use. The new bill, introduced by Lander and fellow Council Member Margaret Chin, would require retail and grocery stores to charge at least 10 cents for both plastic and paper bags, in an effort to ensure an overall reduction in total single-use bags. According to a press release, the proposed charge would not be a tax and would instead be retained by the store to cover the cost of providing bags.
“It can be easy to forget the impact we each have on the environment – an impact that really adds up when you have a city of eight million people,” said Lander. “The truth is, there are a lot of times that we don’t really need a plastic bag. This common sense legislation will help New York cut plastic bag waste, both saving money and reducing litter, without effecting small businesses.”
The legislation includes a few exceptions; the charge would be waived for customers using food stamps, for example, and produce or meat bags would be exempt in order to “protect food from contamination.” Restaurants would also be exempt, “due to limited alternatives for delivery and take-out food orders.”