A City Council proposal aimed at charging customers who use plastic or paper bags will be going for a vote next week.
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced her support for the long gestating bill originally introduced by Council members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin. Under the legislation, New Yorkers would be charged five cents for most disposable bags used at stores, as a way to reduce waste.
“From dramatically reducing emissions to strengthening green building standards, we have never shied away from advancing these important goals. Our approach to reducing plastic bag waste must be equally bold, and we must join efforts by cities across the country and around the world to tackle this issue head-on,” the speaker said in a statement.
The full Council is slated to vote on the bill May 5, as first reported in Crain’s New York.
Critics contend the legislation was a hidden tax on the poor, however supporters have noted that the money from the bags will go directly back to the store.
There will be exclusions for restaurants and street vendors and customers can still use plastic bags for produce, meat and bulk food purchased inside shops.
The city spends $12.5 million to transport 91,000 tons of plastic bags and paper carryout bags to landfills in other states annually, according to the speaker.