NYC plastic bag surcharge bill gets renewed push from environmental groups

A plastic bag blows along Chambers Street, Wednesday, March 26, 2014.
A plastic bag blows along Chambers Street, Wednesday, March 26, 2014. Photo Credit: Alison Fox

A who’s who of environmental groups urged the mayor and City Council Monday to move forward with a plan that would charge a dime for disposable bags.

More than 70 organizations, including NYC Sierra Club and the New York League of Conservation Voters, sent a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito urging them to support the bill from council members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin. The groups say New Yorkers use 10 billion single-use carryout bags every year and it costs the city $12.5 million annually to send the non-biodegradable bags to landfills.

“[The bill] will dramatically reduce pollution and waste by asking all New Yorkers to pause for a second at the register and make an informed decision about whether they need to take a single-use bag,” they wrote in the letter.

Under the legislation, stores would charge 10 cents for paper and plastic bags used to carry items, with some exceptions, such as bags used for produce and meat. The money would go directly to the store owners.

The bill has 22 sponsors as of Monday, four shy of passing

A spokeswoman for Mark-Viverito said the speaker is reviewing the legislation and de Blasio’s office didn’t return messages for comment.