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Will New York Ban Plastic Bags?

Caitlin Horsfield Caitlin Horsfield

According to a recent study, New Yorkers use 23 billion plastic bags each year. Many of these bags will end up in landfills or waterways, contributing to exorbitant amounts of unnecessary pollution.

Two state lawmakers proposed a statewide ban on plastic bag use, yesterday. After last year’s failed bag legislation which was to impose a 5 cent fee on bags, State Senators Liz Krueger and Brad Hoylman have submitted a new bill that would outright ban plastic bag use in supermarkets and impose a 10-25 cent fee (set by the retailer) on paper bags in order to encourage renewable alternatives. Bags used for produce in supermarkets and restaurant take out  would be excluded from the ban. According to the bill, customers using food stamps or other assistance benefits would not pay the fee, negating the argument that this ban would be unfair to low-income consumers.

So why so much controversy surrounding legislation that has been accepted in over 100 cities nationwide? For one, Governor Cuomo has called the potential of a bag ban “deeply flawed” insisting that this is a state, and not city issue. More than a dozen local communities in New York state have adopted bans or fees so far, but last years attempt at a 5-cent fee approved in New York City was blocked by state officials.

The new bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote and most likely will not pass as it faces the same opposition as last year’s similar attempt at the plastic bag fee.

 

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Also published on Medium.