In an attempt to reduce pollution by encouraging shoppers to bring reusable grocery bags to the store, New York City council members have introduced a plan to charge 10 cents each for paper and plastic grocery bags distributed in the city, according to nbcnews.com.
Retailers would retain the bag fee; restaurants would be exempt, as would bags for produce, meat and bulk food items.
"Too often at the register, we bag and double-bag, heedless of the severe environmental cost we all pay," Councilwoman Margaret Chin said in statement announcing the plan. "In my district in lower Manhattan, after a busy weekend, you can see these bags overflowing from trash cans and in the streets and gutters. The bags end up clogging our streets, littering our public parks, and costing taxpayers millions of dollars in clean up and waste removal."
New Yorkers use 5.2 billion carryout bags per year, the vast majority of which are not recycled. As of 2008, plastic bags accounted for over 1,700 tons of residential garbage per week, and New York City pays an estimated $10 million to transport 100,000 tons of plastic bags to landfills in other states each year.
A decision on the proposal could be made by the end of the year; it will require 26 votes in order to pass.
Find out more about our campaign to end single-use plastic bags here.