Will NYC be able to do it? City Council members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin are on a mission to promote a currently stagnant bill that would help slash plastic bag waste in the city. The proposed legislation would impose a 10-cent on shoppers who request single-use and paper bags at grocery stores and bodegas. Lander and Chin are pushing to get the legislation passed by Earth Day.



Plasic Bag Litter

Working with the Citizens Committee for New York City and the New York League of Conservation, Lander and Chin are hoping to convince other Council members to approve a city-wide fee system that would discourage overall plastic bag consumption. Along with the long list of ecological reasons to do so, they are pointing to Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles as examples of big cities that saw plastic bag usage decline by 60% and 95%, respectively, after imposing plastic bag fees.

Related: New York City Students Rally to Ban Plastic Bags

The original city bag bill that is currently on the table was first introduced in March 2014, but has been lying stagnant since November of the same year. According to the Gotham Gazette, the bill has 21 Council sponsors in total, but needs five more co-sponsors to have a majority in the 51-member Council. If they reach a majority, the bill will be a step closer to being passed by the Committee and the Council, and becoming a law signed in by Mayor de Blasio.

Despite years of hurdles, namely from plastic bag industry, Lander remains optimistic that the city can finally commit itself to reducing the amount of plastic bags that end up in its ever-growing waste stream. “As Spring starts to return to New York, people remember that plastic bags aren’t what’s supposed to bloom in trees, and it’s time for the city to adopt the fee and significantly reduce plastic bag waste,” Lander told Gotham Gazette. “I’m optimistic that we’ll get there.”

No matter what the outcome, a reusable shopping bag would make a great gift for Earth Day this year!

Via Gotham Gazette

Lead image by William Alatriste via Gotham Gazette. Additional images via zainub and swanksalot.