Reduce Plastic Bag Waste in NYC

Reduce Plastic Bag Waste in NYC

  l   WHY WE NEED IT   l   HOW IT WORKS   l   FAQ   l   GET INVOLVED  


After a multi-year effort by environmental advocates & young people, the New York City Council voted on May 5, 2016 to adopt the #BYOBag law, to eliminate the 10 billion wasteful, single-use plastic bags that NYC residents throw out every year. The #BYOBag law would have required that all retailers in NYC charge a 5-cent minimum fee for each carryout bag provided at check-out. 

Unfortunately, the New York State Legislature voted in February 2017 to nullify NYC's #BYOBag law and on February 14, 2017 Governor Cuomo signed the moratorium bill into law. Under the moratorium, the NYC City Council cannot move forward with a new bill involving fees until 2018.

Governor Cuomo appointed a statewide plastic bag task force, and charged them to come up with recommendations by the end of 2017. The task force is reportedly considering a ban and/or fee approach to dealing with plastic bags. 

Why We Need A Plastic Bag Law

Every year, NYC residents dispose of 9.37 billion single-use plastic bags -- and millions of them end up in our neighborhoods, trees, streets, and oceans.  New York City spends $12.5 million per year to send them to landfills, and even more to clean them off playgrounds, beaches, parks, and other public places. 

Even when properly disposed of, plastic bags often blow away onto the street or into waterways, where they become eyesores, clog storm drains, and endanger wildlife. If we are going to achieve our OneNYC zero waste goals, we can't ignore harmful plastic bag waste.

Our bill aims to reduce the use and negative impacts of carryout bags by requiring a 5-cent charge for carryout bags in NYC grocery and retail stores. 



NYC's plastic bag law will reduce single-use bags in NYC!

Plastic bag in tree

  • Plastic bags cost the public money through waste burden and machinery jams at recycling plants.
  • Our current voluntary plastic bag recycling regime is ineffective, and despite over a decade of efforts, plastic industry groups cannot point to a single successful municpal plastic bag recycling program.
  • Other cities in the U.S. and around the world have successfully reduced plastic bags through per-bag charges and there is no reason that NYC should lag behind.
  • Reducing our plastic bag waste is an important step of reaching our OneNYC zero waste goals. Plastic bags are a big part of the problem, and we need a new approach to deal with them.


Track Plastic Bag Litter on the #BagItNYC Map

  • Help us map NYC's plastic bag problem. It's easy - just upload a photo of plastic bag litter to instagram using #BagItNYCMap. 
  • Use the map below (also at to track support for the bill in your district.


Sign up for updates!

Follow Me on Social Media