Support our bill to reduce single-use bags
Our bill would require retail and grocery stores to charge 5 cents per single-use check-out bag provided to a customer, to encourage New Yorkers to consider bringing their own reusable bags and raise consumer awareness about individual bag use.
Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Unlike other citites, we are not proposing a plastic bag ban. Instead a small 5-cent fee will encourage people to bring resusable bags when they shop, but ensures bags are still available when you need them.
In dozens of other cities, a small fee has been overwhelmingly successful in getting people to bring their own reusable bags when they shop, and generated a 60% to 90% drop in plastic bag waste.
The bill exempts:
- Restaurants, due to limited alternatives for delivery and take-out food orders.
- Street vendors selling prepared food, such as falafel, hot dogs, or bagels. However, street vendors that sell fruit/vegetables or similar goods as retail and grocery would be covered.
- Emergency food providers, such as food pantries.
- State-regulated Wine and Liquor stores with legal packaging requirements to avoid contradicting state law.
- Produce, meat, and bulk food bags, to protect food from contamination.
- Medicine bags at pharmacies.
SNAP or WIC customers are waived from the charge to avoid additional barriers to food security.
The City would be required to:
- Conduct widespread giveaways of free, reusable bags, especially in low-income neighborhoods.
Enforcement has been designed to be simple for businesses:
- There is no record-keeping requirement for businesses. Stores must simply show to the Department of Consumer Affairs inspectors that they are charging a minimum of 5 cents.
- There would be no fine for first time-violations, unlike other retail enforcement.