The Citizens Budget Commission, a New York City think tank, has come out and voiced their support for legislation that would impose a 5-cent fee on most paper carryout bags. This according to a recent article published by Crain's New York Business. They passed on a written testimony to the City Council Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management that stated a ban on plastic bags, along with a fee on paper bags, would be a more effective method for combating single-use bags than a simple ban. Here is a quote from the Commission: "Absent the fee, which provides the economic incentive to bring reusable bags to the store, simple bans tend to shift consumers from one type of bag to another rather than reducing the use of single-use bags,"
This sort of logic makes sense. The commission, to help back up their claim, brought up other notable cities. In Washington D.C., the hybrid single-use ban and fee law has been implemented for a while now and is credited with increasing the use of reusable bags. And in Los Angeles, a similar proposition has led to a 94% reduction in single-use bags.
Single-use plastic bags are a great threat to the environment and need to be addressed as soon as possible. In 2017, New York City passed a bill that would impose a 5-cent fee on any paper or plastic bag, but this bill was blocked from going into effect. However, the fiscal 2020 state budget included legislation to ban single-use plastic bags statewide, giving counties the option to opt in and impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags. According to the legislation presented, 40% of the revenue that is collected in New York City would go back to the city in order to buy and distribute reusable bags. And the remaining 60% of revenue would go towards the state's Environmental Protection Fund.
Hopefully this budget passes, because eradicating single-use plastic bags would do wonders for the environment as a whole. The build-up of plastic in our wastes has become a huge issue that needs to be dealt with properly. New York City needs to follow the steps of other big cities and lead the way into a greener future.