City Council members, environmentalists and students rallied at City Hall Tuesday to push for a fee on plastic bags in the Big Apple.
A city bill under consideration would place a 10-cent fee on disposable plastic and paper bags from grocery stores and restaurants.
Currently, 20 council members are in favor of the bill, six shy of the 26 needed for passage. The public advocate also supports the measure. Mayor Bill de Blasio has not officially weighed in on the issue since taking office.
Supporters said the bags cost the city environmentally and financially. “Reducing our disposable bag waste is a simple shift in habits we can all make that will help the environment immensely,” said Councilman Brad Lander, who introduced the bill.
New Yorkers use 5.2 billion bags annually and the city spends $10 million a year to dispose 100,000 bags from landfills, according to the Sanitation Department.
Other cities such as Los Angeles, Honolulu and Washington, D.C., have undertaken similar bans and reduced consumption by as much as 95%.
A hearing is slated for October, but in the meantime, council members and other environmental organizers have began a campaign to promote reusable bags.
The #BYOBag Week started Monday and challenges New Yorkers not to use
plastic or paper bags the entire week.
New York League of Conservation Voters president Marcia Bystryn said the experiment should open the public’s eyes to environmentally friendly shopping alternatives.
“Sometimes environmental problems can seem too big or too far away for people to feel like they can make a difference, but with the #BYOBag challenge, every New Yorker can make a positive impact, right now,” she said.