Renewed Call to Pass Amended Bag Bill by Earth Day

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A majority of City Council Members have signed onto Intro 209A, a bill to dramatically reduce singleuse plastic and paper bag waste in New York City. The bill’s cosponsors, Council Members Brad Lander, Margaret Chin and Antonio Reynoso, joined fellow elected officials, environmental leaders, climate justice groups, community based organizations, and elementary school students from neighborhoods across NYC to rally for passage of the amended bill by Earth Day April 22nd, 2016. 

New Yorkers throw away more than 9 billion plastic bags each year, over 91,000 tons of solid waste sent to landfills, at a cost of over $12.5 million. The bags, which are made of petroleum and take millions of years to decompose, get stuck in trees, litter streets and beaches, clog storm drains and recycling equipment, and become part of giant islands of plastic sludge in our oceans. Full Release

The amended bill includes the following changes:
● Change to 5cent charge (from 10 cents)
● Requires more robust outreach and education about the bill in multiple languages
● Requires a study on the impact of the legislation on litter, solid waste, and bag use
reductions, as well as the public’s reaction to the law across demographic groups.

WHAT PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS MEMBERS SAY:

“New York City must seize this moment to get 9 billion plastic bags out of our trees, parks, playgrounds, storm drains, beaches, oceans, and landfills,” said Council Member Brad Lander . “In city after city, a small fee has been overwhelmingly successful in getting people to bring their own reusable bags when they shop across lines of race, ethnicity, age, income and neighborhood and generated a 60% to 90% drop in plastic bag waste. We’re thrilled that a majority of City Council Members have signed onto the amended bill.”

“This amended legislation is the result of months of discussions with my Council colleagues about our shared goal of reducing the thousands of tons of singleuse
bags discarded every year,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “With these changes, I strongly believe we’ve achieved that goal while minimizing the effect of our legislation on low-income New Yorkers – many of whom live in neighborhoods that are disproportionately impacted by our City’s waste transfer system. I thank my Council colleagues for joining us in this effort, and I look forward to this important legislation being voted on and signed into law.”

“As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Sanitation, I am proud to support this legislation, which represents a big step toward the City’s goal of sending zero waste to landfills by 2030,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Waste reduction is both an environmental issue and an equity issue, and we can all do our part by remembering to bring reusable bags. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this bill.”

“Plastic bags litter our streets, clog our storm drains, and cost the city millions of dollars every year to transport to landfills,” said Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer. “This small change will encourage the use of reusable bags, and experts predict it will reduce plastic bag waste by 60 to 90 percent. This is one of the most thoughtful plastic bag bills in the country.”

“Singleuse plastic bags are a waste and can soon be a relic of the past, replaced by reusable bags that will help save the environment and everyone money,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. 

“This legislation is about environmental protection and waste reduction, and will hopefully reduce the number of plastic bags used by consumers. Plastic bags can be an environmental hazard and that’s why this commonsense bill has widespread support from elected officials, environmental justice groups, students and others,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

“I think most can agree that this topic isn’t pleasant and can frankly be annoying. But no one can disagree on how bad plastic bags are, so we have to move forward with a way to try and deal with it,” Council Member Jumaane D. Williams said. “My issue is how is it going to affect poorer, black and Latino communities. All the data in other cities show that the concerns are not real. In addition, a request for a study has been added in the bill so we can revisit this in two years . Paralysis is not an alternative.”

“Singleuse plastic bags live long after you’re done with them – clogging landfills, trees, waterways, and streets. We owe it to ourselves and to the environment to reduce our consumption of disposable bags, and this bill will get shoppers to be mindful of the financial and environmental cost of singleuse plastic bags on our City,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal.

IN THE NEWS

Gotham Gazette, Supporters Launch Renewed Push to Pass Plastic Bag Bill by Earth Day

NY Daily News, Proposed NYC plastic bag fee spawns rallies at City Hall

Capital NY, City Council closes in on a plastic bag fee proposal

NY Post, Plastic bag fees are nearly a reality

King County Politics, Lander, Reynoso Pushes Bill To Curb Plastic Bags

Capital NY, Supporters of bag fee highlight low-income, minority support

Capital NY, City bag fee fight is still too close to call

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About nycprogressives

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is dedicated to creating a more just and equal New York City, combating all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.
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