City Council members who want to charge New Yorkers a dime for using plastic or paper bags in stores pushed the mayor to make the bill a reality by Earth Day.
Council members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin, who co-wrote the bill, rallied with their supporters at City Hall on Monday, said the use of disposable bags is hurting the city environmentally and financially.
“New Yorkers use 9 billion — yes, 9 billion — single-use plastic bags every year,” Lander said in a statement. “They clog our trees and storm drains and recycling plants, pollute our oceans, and cost millions to send to landfills.”
The legislation would place 10-cent surcharge on plastic and paper bags. The money would go straight to the store owners. Other cities, like Los Angeles and Washington D.C., have similar laws in effect.
Chin and Lander said it costs the city $10 million annually to dispose of the non-biodegradable bags
“More New Yorkers recognize just how easy it is to curb the wasteful and costly use of disposable plastic bags, it’s clear that our city is ready to move forward,” Chin said in a statement.
Opponents of the bill, which include the American Progressive Bag Alliance and nine council members, say the surcharge is a tax on small businesses and poorer New Yorkers.
“It will add three to four dollars a week to the bill of shoppers throughout our city,” Councilman James Vacca said in a statement.
The bill had 21 Council co-sponsors, five shy of the majority needed to bring it to a vote, as of Monday. The supporters sent a letter to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Mayor Bill de Blasio asking them move the bill forward and have it passed by Earth Day.
Mark-Viverito’s office said she is reviewing the legislation. Mayor Bill de Blasio hasn’t indicated any position on the bill and didn’t return requests for comment.