Local Leaders Push For Plastic Bag Surcharge During BYOBag Week

Local Leaders Push For Plastic Bag Surcharge During BYOBag Week
Brad Lander, BYOBag Week


Council Member Brad Lander is one of several NYC council members supporting a bill that would put a 10-cent fee on disposable plastic and paper bags at grocery stores and more, and has been out trying to gain public support during BYOBag Week.

During rush hour yesterday evening, Lander joined Council Members Laurie Cumbo  and Stephen Levin to hand out 300 reusable tote bags to commuters near the Atlantic Avenue terminal, encouraging neighbors to try using only reusable bags during BYOBag Week, which continues through September 21.

“Plastic bags are designed to be used only for a short period of time, but their negative impacts are long-lasting,” Lander said. “Even when properly disposed of, plastic bags often blow away onto the street or into waterways, where they become eye-sores, clog storm drains, and endanger wildlife.”

According to the Department of Sanitation, New Yorkers use 5.2 billion bags annually (that’s 624 per person per year), and the city spends $10 million dollars annually to dispose of 100,000 tons of bag waste in landfills.

The bill, which was introduced in March and is supported by 20 council members — 26 are needed to pass the bill — would cover businesses like grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores, but would not include food trucks or liquor stores, and you’d still be able to use those plastic bags without handles at a store to carry things like produce, meat, or dry goods. All other paper or plastic carryout bags would carry a

10-cent charge, and stores would retain that money. 

If the bill goes through, after a period of introduction time, businesses found violating the law would be subject to a fine of $250 for the first offense, and $500 for each subsequent offense in a calendar year.

A hearing on the bill is scheduled for October.

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