Nickel Bags

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The Plastic Bag Bill was first introduced to the NYC Council in the summer of 2013. Then the fee for paper or place bags was set at 10 cents a bag. Earlier this May the NYC Council passed the bill which cut the original fee in half, whereby retail, convenience, and grocery stores would impose a nickel fee for plastic or paper bags at with limited exceptions such as purchases made with food stamps.

Council Member Antonio Reynoso is listed among the bill’s sponsors, and he said, “As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Sanitation, I am proud to support this legislation, which represents a big step toward the City’s goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030. Waste reduction is both an environmental issue and an equity issue, and we can all do our part by remembering to bring reusable bags.” The bill is supposed to go into effect this October but won’t be enforced until April 2017.

There is still some push back from platforms like Bag the Tax NYC. They claim that 90% of these bags are not single use, they are reused in some capacity; that paper is more environmentally friendly and shouldn’t be penalized; that this fee, which they call a tax, burdens low-income families. Also in the State Assembly some support a proposal to prohibit local governments from imposing bag fees.

However, the fee isn’t a tax as the money goes directly to shop owners. Paper is included because the point is to reduce waste and not switch from one disposable to another.

Author: Lori Ann Doyon

Managing editor, head writer, and lead photographer of Greenline | North Brooklyn News since October 2014. Resident of Williamsburg, Brooklyn since 1990.

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