What to Know
- A five-cent fee on plastic bags will go into effect statewide on Feb. 15, the Queens Chronicle reports
- The bill was originally scheduled to go into effect last October, but the state legislature threatened to ban such fees and pushed it back
- Washington D.C. reduced its plastic bag usage by more than 50 percent in less than five years after the passing of a similar bill in 2010
Nearly a year after the City Council voted to charge customers five cents per paper or plastic grocery bag, the bill is set to take effect starting next month.
Though the legislation was set to be implemented last October, the fee was pushed back to Feb. 15 after the state legislature threatened to ban these kinds of fees, reports the Queens Chronicle.
With all the election buzz, the issue was quickly put on the backburner. A state senator who represents Howard Beach, Queens spoke with the newspaper and said the bag business could soon resurface in an upcoming session of the State Council.
"The reason the Council delayed it until February is because the Senate was considering taking up a bill," Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. said. "I'm not against recycling or reducing litter. This isn't the way to do it."
Sen. Leroy Comrie argues that the fee would affect low-income residents most, and that many people from his district, Bayside, could even be impacted by a few dollars a month.
Several other places, including Suffolk County and Long Beach, Long Island, have followed suit and enacted similar bills requiring a plastic bag fee. In Washington D.C., bag usage dropped more than 50 percent in less than five years following a district-mandated five-cent plastic bag fee in 2010.
Although there may be negative financial implications for consumers when the ban goes into effect, others think the ban could effectively reduce waste and encourage greater usage of reusable bags.
"It's well-crafted and also makes common sense," said Jordan Christiansen, program coordinator with Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "This will reduce the number of paper and plastics bags and encourage people to bring their own."