Thursday, Jul 31, 2014 05:37 pm est

New York City Council to vote on disposable grocery bag 10-cent fee

Posted on April 4, 2014 | by Carly A. Krakow

via wikipedia.org

The New York City Council has proposed a bill that would mandate a 10-cent fee on all disposable plastic and paper bags used at grocery stores, aiming to make the city more environmentally conscious by promoting the use of reusable bags.

If passed, New York City will follow the example of Washington, D.C., which currently imposes a fee on plastic bags, and Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have implemented total bans on disposable plastic bags and fees on paper bags. New York City residents use 5.2 billion disposable plastic grocery bags annually, costing the city $10 million in landfill transportation expenses.

Gallatin professor Louise Harpman said the law will promote the use of fewer resources and have an impact in the larger context of combating global warming, but the city ought to implement a comprehensive ban like San Francisco.

“This law doesn’t go far enough,” Harpman said. “It may not actually reduce the use of paper or plastic bags — it will just charge consumers more.”

The bill says store owners, rather than a public fund, would receive the money from the fee. Bags used in restaurant deliveries would not carry a fee, and customers who purchase food through public-assistance programs would not be charged.

Jason Bander, an owner of LifeThyme natural market on Sixth Avenue, estimated that only 5 to 10 percent of his customers currently bring reusable bags, and many shoppers reuse plastic bags as garbage liners at home.

“I don’t know many folks who carry around their own bags,” Bader said. “ In 2011 to 2012 we gave out 10,000 ‘green’ fabric, reusable bags. Of the 10,000, we might see a fraction of 1 percent back in the store.”

Environmental and animal studies professor Jeff Sebo is a proponent of the bill, but he said he would like stronger measures in the future.

“A 10-cent fee for every paper or plastic bag is the absolute least that we can do,” Sebo said. “I wish that the fee was higher and that the money would go to an environmental fund.”

Environmental studies professor Peder Anker said he expects the bill to pass and hopes the next step will be to eliminate plastic bags completely.

“There was much resistance to the ban of smoking in public spaces, though I don’t think people miss it now,” Anker said. “I think the same will happen with a ban on plastic bags.”

Currently 19 council members are co-sponsoring the bill, seven shy of the 26 needed for it to pass.

Tisch junior Madeleine Connors, who is from California, said the law would make the city more environmentally friendly.

“In California I found that even small laws had a ripple effect, forcing people to consider being green in other areas of their life like transportation and power conservation,” Connors said.

The council plans to vote on the bill within the next few weeks.

Carly A. Krakow is a contributing writer. Email her at news@nyunews.com.

Comments

  • Heathe RWay

    I’m surprised the fee would be waived for those purchasing with food stamps. That’s a significant number of people. Assuming their purchases that qualify for tax, are taxed, why would this be any different?

  • sam malone

    This will cause botulism when fish and chicken drip in the bags and are used again. Also this city continues to reward people who do not work and get food stamps. I have to work 2 jobs to make ends meet.

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next