Legislation Would Put 10 Cent Surcharge On Bags At Grocery, Retail Stores

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City lawmakers are introducing a bill that would put a 10 cent surcharge on plastic bags in an effort to reduce waste in the city.

Council members Brad Lander, Margaret Chin and others announced the legislation on Tuesday.

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“There are 8 million New Yorkers and every year, we use 5.2 billion carryout bags,” said Lander. “The vast majority of which are not recycled.”

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The bill would require the surcharge be placed on all carryout bags provided at grocery and retail stores. The same charge would also apply to paper bags.

Restaurants would not be included because of the limited alternatives for delivery and take-out food orders.

Produce, meat and bulk food bags used within stores would also be exempt to protect food from contamination as well as pharmacy counter bags for medicine.

Street vendors that sell similar goods as retail and grocery stores would also be included.

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Money from the surcharge would go to the store to cover the cost of providing bags. Customers who bring their own reusable bags would not be charged.

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Chin said the bill would help cut back on pollution and ultimately protect the city’s green spaces and waterways.

“The bags end up clogging our streets, littering our public parks, and costing taxpayers millions of dollars in clean up and waste removal,” Chin said. “This bill incentivizes consumers to bring their own reusable bags and think twice before reaching for paper or plastic ones.”

As of 2008, plastic bags accounted for over 1,700 tons of residential garbage per week in New York City, officials said.

Each year, the city pays an estimated $10 million to transport 100,000 tons of plastic bags to landfills in other states.

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