Have you every flipped out your reusable bag at Duane Reade, only to see the girl next to you accept a plastic bag to carry her extremely heavy toothbrush? Man, if only ladies had bags on them at all times that were big enough to carry a toothbrush–oh, wait …
New legislation introduced Tuesday is trying to change the habits of New Yorkers, by requiring retail and grocery stores to charge consumers at least 10 cents per plastic bag used. Paper bags are included in the legislation, but according to Gothamist, plastic bags are the main target. Restaurants are excluded, since there aren’t many good alternatives for delivering food. You can also have a plastic bag for your meat, free of charge.
We use 5.2 billion carryout bags per year in the city, and it costs our government $10 million each year to take 100,000 tons of plastic bags to landfills in other states. An environmental advocate at the announcement said that when his group conducts beach clean ups around the city, about three-quarters of the waste collected is plastic.
Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin, who created the bill, hope that bag usage will drop sharply like it did in D.C. and LA–plastic bag use declined by 60% and 95% respectively.
Bloomberg’s proposed plastic bag tax in 2008 was shot down by the City Council, because the legality of it was questioned, but since the ten cents is going to stores this time, it’s different. I don’t really care either way, I just want people to not use plastic bags, or if they really need them, pay a fee for the privilege.