The New York City Council recently passed a bill to place a 5-cent fee on any plastic or paper bags provided to consumers at retail stores. But now there is an effort in the State Legislature to stop this bill from taking effect – a strategy that the plastic bag industry and their ALEC allies have used successfully in other states. This industry-backed bill, S7336, cannot be allowed to succeed in New York.
Every year, New York City residents use and dispose over 9 billion plastic bags. Weighing over 91,000 tons, these bags cost the city over $12.5 million to send to landfills, requiring over 7,000 garbage truck trips. Many of them don’t make it that far, instead getting stuck in trees, clogging storm drains, getting caught in recycling equipment, and becoming part of the growing islands of plastic pollution that are poisoning our oceans and our food supply.
The bill recently passed by the New York City Council, which the Mayor has committed to sign, would require most stores to charge a 5-cent fee for any plastic or paper bags provided to consumers at check-out. Low-income consumers paying for any part of their purchase with SNAP or WIC are exempt from the charge. The City will also undertake a large-scale giveaway of reusable bags and extensive outreach, particularly targeting low-income communities. The purpose of the fee is not to raise money, but to encourage a change in behavior so that people will switch to reusable bags.
Plastic bags make a significant contribution to the waste stream in New York City, costing millions of dollars and requiring thousands of extra garbage truck trips each year, which places a disparate burden on low-income communities and communities of color. NYC, after years of debate, has passed a local law implementing a model that has been proven to work in cities and countries around the world. We should respect the city’s democratic process, and allow their chosen solution time to prove whether or not it will be effective.
Sign the petition below to show your support for a proven solution to plastic bag pollution in New York City, and tell your State Senator to oppose the industry’s efforts to intervene. Say NO to S7336.