Look, I am real big when it comes to the environment and the way the entire world treats our planet is appalling and yes, I hate seeing those plastic bags hanging from trees like some kind of ghetto fruit, but this idiotic bill by city council is just another useless waste of bullshit that solves nothing and does nothing, except take more money out of people’s pockets. If anyone thinks that this bill will make our communities cleaner, well, are the same people that think Senator Leroy Comrie is a top notch politician and the Rev. Floyd Flake really is a man of the cloth.
Want to do something really far fetched, ENFORCE LITTER LAWS, that is what they were made for. Just like communities have those gazillion traffic police officers walking around looking for illegally parked cars, have litter police and have them out in full force. Issuing summons to businesses, apartment buildings, homes and of course people who think of nothing about throwing down a dirty diaper on the street. The money the city would make on this could be huge and actually make a difference.
Yes, I am for cleaning up the environment, but not with stupid shit that does nothing, solves nothing and does not make a damn bit of difference.
Chalk it up to City Council for another brilliant idea.
New Yorkers will have to fork over five cents for a plastic or paper bag at the store after the City Council voted Thursday to impose the fee.
The bill passed, 28 to 20, after an impassioned floor debate, narrowly dividing the Council where supporters said it would help the environment, but opponents called it an unfair burden on struggling families.
Pols originally proposed a ten cent fee, but cut the price in half to gain support. Stores will keep the money they charge.
“We all know plastic bags are a problem. We see them in our trees, our streets, our parks, our beaches. They clog up our storm drains,” said Councilman Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), one of the chief sponsors.
“It’s no secret this bill has opponents – and how could it not? It works by irritating us into changing our behavior and remembering to bring reusable bags.”
The fee is set to go into effect Oct. 1. After a six month grace period, businesses that don’t charge the fee will face fines of $250 to $500. The nickel is technically a minimum, so individual stores could choose to charge more.
New Yorkers use a whopping 9.37 billion disposable bags each year, costing the city $12.5 million to haul 91,000 tons of bags to landfills.
Supporters predict the fee will cut plastic bag use by 60% to 90%, like it has in other places it’s been imposed, and reduce solid waste by 60-90,000 tons a year.
But opponents say it’s wrong for the city to push policies that will drive up costs and whack low income residents hardest.
“New York is one of the most expensive places to live in the country,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Queens). “What we’re doing today is making it even less affordable.”
Foes also charged the policy was unlikely to achieve its goal of cutting waste – and objected to directing so much cash into the pockets of merchants.
“The fee is without a doubt regressive,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn). “The cost of buying essential groceries will increase for every New Yorker. Instead of changing consumers’ behavior, this bill will only increase the constantly surging cost of living in New York City.”
Council minority leader Steve Matteo called it a “dangerous precedent” for the government to mandate a privately-charged fee, and predicted it would drive his Staten Island constituents to shop in New Jersey.
“If it sounds like a tax, it looks like a tax, it acts like a tax – it’s a tax. It’s a tax that hurts my constituents, a tax that will take more money out of their pockets, and adding insult to injury will give that money to a private business,” he said.
Supporters shot back that no one will be forced to cough up extra money – they can just decline a bag.
“The goal of the bill is not to charge a single cent for a plastic bag. What we want is more New Yorkers bringing a reusable bag, or to think about whether they even need one,” said Councilwoman Margaret Chin (D-Manhattan).
The fee will cover all retail stores, including grocery and clothing stores, but will not apply to takeout food at restaurants.
Customers using food stamps will be exempt, as well as special bags for produce and meat bags inside stores, and medicine bags from pharmacy counters. Wine and liquor stores, which are covered by different state laws, are also off the hook.
Similar charges have been imposed in cities including Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. The city plans to host reusable bag giveaways before the fee kicks in.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who supported the bill and called plastic bags an “environmental hazard,” admitted she doesn’t yet use reusable bags but plans to save some pennies by changing her ways.
“I will have a motivation to use reusable bags, and I’m more than happy to do that,” she said. “I definitely have a ways to go on the use of plastic bags.”
Mayor de Blasio said he’ll sign the bill.
“The Council’s legislation strikes the right balance, reducing reliance on single-use bags and incentivizing the use of reusable bags, while safeguarding consumers with some logical exemptions to protect vulnerable New Yorkers,” he said.