Support our bill to reduce single-use bags

Support our bill to reduce single-use bags


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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 ImagesPhoto 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.

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