With Plastic Bags Banned, NYC Eyes Charge For Paper Ones From Harlem To Hollis

Instead of paper or plastic, New Yorkers from Harlem to Hollis could soon face a different choice at the checkout line: Pay or bring your own reports Patch.

Some city officials want to impose a 5-cent charge for paper bags now that state lawmakers have moved to ban single-use plastic sacks statewide.

Half a dozen City Council members announced plans Tuesday to introduce a bill to establish the fee, as state legislation allows. The bill is still being drafted, but lawmakers aim to have the charge in place by the time the plastic bag ban takes effect in March 2020, said a spokesman for Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who’s among those pushing the fee.

“While I commend the Governor for supporting this latest proposal to ban plastic bags, we must take further action to truly realize our goal of dramatic waste reduction from all types of single-use bags,” Chin, a Manhattan Democrat, said in a statement.

The $175.5 billion state budget passed this week includes a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, with some exceptions for trash bags, newspaper bags and others.

The measure also leaves it up to cities and counties to impose a 5-cent fee for paper bags, with 40 percent of the money going to local programs to provide low- and fixed-income people with reusable bags. The rest would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

The measure also leaves it up to cities and counties to impose a 5-cent fee for paper bags, with 40 percent of the money going to local programs to provide low- and fixed-income people with reusable bags. The rest would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Having to pay for paper bags will encourage shoppers to use their own bags and reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfills, city lawmakers say. Council members pledged to give away plenty of free bags to those who need them, with a focus on low-income and older New Yorkers.

Having to pay for paper bags will encourage shoppers to use their own bags and reduce the amount of waste dumped in landfills, city lawmakers say. Council members pledged to give away plenty of free bags to those who need them, with a focus on low-income and older New Yorkers.

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“In order to meaningfully reduce waste, we need to change consumer behavior patterns by discouraging the use of paper bags and encouraging the use of reusable bags,” said Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn) in a statement.

Ironically, the City Council moved to impose a fee on almost all single-use bags — plastic and paper alike — in May 2016 only for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to strike it down early the following year. The Democratic governor called the city’s approach “deeply flawed” and condemned the fact that merchants would keep the fees for themselves.

Mayor Bill de Blasio supported the City Council’s first attempt at a bag fee and he indicated general support for the new effort, though he said he wanted to make sure everyone would be able to access reusable bags.

“Paper bags require a lot of energy to be produced and then in most cases are thrown away, they’re not recycled. That’s a problem too,” de Blasio said Tuesday at an unrelated news conference. “So we have to get away from paper bags as quickly as possible.”

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