Statement of Council Members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin on Albany's Pre-Emption of NYC's Bring Your Own Bag Law
"We fought plastic bags, and for now, plastic bags won. They are stubborn and toxic forms of solid waste. They never biodegrade, so they pollute our trees, oceans, and landfills forever. And they are hard to dislodge from the State Legislature, too.
Carryout bag fees are the right policy – that’s why they have been adopted in cities from Washington DC to Seattle, the entire state of California, and in countries from Ireland to Israel to South Africa. In city after city, all the evidence shows that the vast majority of people, across lines of race and income, switch to reusable bags once a fee is in place.
It is disappointing that the State Legislature and the Governor killed NYC’s Bring Your Own Bag Law, which was democratically adopted by the City Council after two years of hearings, reviewing evidence, reusable bag giveaways, and public debate. By nullifying only New York City’s law – but leaving nearly identical laws in Suffolk and Nassau Counties intact – the Legislature has put in jeopardy the basic concept of 'home rule.'
Despite this loss, we are proud of the coalition we have built, which took the issue of plastic solid waste – over 9 billion plastic bags every year, adding up to 91,000 tons of solid waste, trucked through our neighborhoods to landfills, polluting our trees, parks, and oceans along the way – and raised it to the very highest levels of New York State government. Someday, not soon enough, but someday, we will win action to get rid of them.”