If Mayor Bloomberg has his way, NYC shoppers who don’t bring their own reusable bag will be charged 6 cents a bag at the register. His proposal seems well-intentioned — to further his administration’s efforts to green NYC. At the same time, the City’s coffers would be greened as well, to the tune of an estimated $16 million dollars a year. That’s a lot of bags!
As many of you know, I favor efforts to curtail the use of disposable bags so my initial reaction to the plan is, yay! Obviously, any new fee would initially be met with resistance, especially at this financially tenuous point in time. But as in Ireland and other places around the world where similar programs have been instituted consumers adapt their habits, and the positive environmental impact will far outweigh any inconvenience or financial penalty.
Should the initiative move forward, here’s how it would work: for each 6 cents charged, the store owner would receive a penny as an incentive to enforce the fee, and the City would receive a nickel. Note the semantics: the proposed 6 cents is considered a fee, which requires approval only from the City Council, whereas a tax would require approval from the State Legislature.
That being said, here’s my two cents. Whether or not a fee is imposed, we all should make more of an effort to bring a reusable tote or previously used plastic bag with us whenever we leave home. Like that credit card, you never know when you’re going to need it. For some well-made, reusable bags options, see below.
Related: previously on altCon