New York Becomes the Latest City to Tax Plastic Bags

  • Team BIDBI
  • 2nd June 2016

New York has become the world’s latest major city to begin the process of dramatically cutting down on plastic bag use.

Last month, the City Council voted 28 to 20 in favour of the introduction of a nickel fee on single-use plastic bags at convenience, grocery and selected other stores. Mayor Bill de Blasio expressed his support for the measure.

This changes will follow a model similar to the one that has already come into play in other major US cities including Washington and California.

New Yorkers Throw Away 9 Million Single-Use Plastic Bags Every Year

It’s a welcome move in terms of the city’s environmental footprint, with recent Department of Sanitation (DSNY) statistics showing that New Yorkers currently throw away more than 9 billion single-use plastic carrier bags every year.

Much of that waste goes unrecycled, whilst the DSNY also estimates that the city spends around $12.5 million each year to transport waste plastic bags to landfills.

As well as plastic bags, paper bags will also be included within the bill. This is to prevent shoppers from swapping one single-use bag type for another.

Plastic Bag Tax to be Introduced in October

Set to be introduced around October, the bag tax will finally be realised after nearly two years of debate surrounding the move. There has been great opposition to the changes being enforced, but the feeling from campaigners has become strong enough to force things through.

Whilst opposition voices state that there are other sources of waste far worse than plastic bags, this is no real defence to continue with their use. Equally, irritation to the day-to-day shopper is simply no valid reason to object to the changes.

Although an earlier version of the bill proposed the tax be set at 10 cents, it was decided that half that amount would suffice. Stores will collect and keep the fees.

It is hoped that the typical New York shopper will now choose to invest in reusable eco-bags – a process that we of course support here at BIDBI.

View from England

From here in England, it seems remarkable that cities as big as New York are only just starting to embrace the need for change. With the environmental damage caused by plastic waste in clear view for all to see, reducing the quantity of it is something that has to be considered an absolute necessity – and it works.

Within this country alone, the use of plastic bags has fallen by an astonishing rate since the 5p tax was introduced back in October. According to the Guardian, bag usage has dropped by 80% since the changes.

When you consider that Census figures estimate NYC residents to be above 8 million, the effect the changes could have on the reducing waste there are huge based on the figures from England.

As the changes to come into play, New York is also likely to find, as many other places have, that the doom and gloom predicted is never anything like it’s predicted to be.

Business in the UK are now gladly opting for eco-friendly alternatives like our very own cotton tote bags here at BIDBI. When you consider the positive image that you can portray by using eco-bags to market your brand, it’s easy to see why they’ve become such a popular choice.