In an effort to reduce the number of plastic bags clogging landfills, the New York City Council introduced legislation last week to implement a 10-cent fee per bag at stores. The monetary incentive for customers to carry their own reusable bags is already in place in many European nations, and has had a proven effect on consumer behavior. If passed, city officials estimate the surcharge could also save NYC around $10 million a year.
Rather than banning plastic bags like San Francisco, Los Angeles and the entire state of Hawaii have done, the NYC proposal instead suggests charging an extra fee for customers requiring a bag. Avoiding the 10 cent charge would incentivize customers to not only bring their own totes, but to use fewer bags when faced with purchasing one. The proposal would require bag fees not only in super markets, but also on a smaller scale in bodegas, street vendors selling produce, and even clothing and drug stores. Restaurants, pharmacies and liquor stores would still be able to give bags to customers free of charge.
19 of the required 26 council members have already pledged their support for the fee. Should 26 sign, the proposed bill would then be submitted to the mayor’s office. In addition to charging for plastic, the bill would also include paper bags. If passed, the bill could help divert 1,700 tons of waste from New York City landfills per week.
Via CBS Local