New York's even closer to joining cities like D.C. Seattle and San Francisco when it comes to cutting back on plastic bags—Mayor de Blasio's administration is "looking very closely" at an earlier City Council proposal calling for a 10-cent fee.
First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris told WNYC's Brian Lehrer yesterday that the proposed fee—or, if possible, a plastic bag ban—would help the city cut down significantly on waste. "Small charges like that, that then can be used by stores or others to reduce waste flow further — that’s just the kind of direction we would want to go in," he said, when asked whether the mayor would sign a bill calling for a fee or ban. "Look, we’re looking very closely at it, Brian. It is something the direction of which we’re very supportive of."
In March, City Council formally proposed a bill calling for the 10-cent fee, proposing to hand back fee revenue to store owners. Previously, Mayor Bloomberg had tried to instate a 6-cent fee on plastic bags, though that never panned out; while campaigning, Mayor de Blasio advocated for a ban on plastic bags.
Of course, not everyone's thrilled about the prospect of a bag tax. "This won’t make a significant impact on our environment, but it will make a substantial negative impact on small businesses,” Brad Gerstman of the New York Association of Grocery Stores told the Daily News. “You’re talking about an owner’s family making $30,000 a year, so every penny does count, and any regulation the city would promulgate would diminish their sales."
For now, New Yorkers can recycle their plastic bags at certain shops, department stores and shopping malls; check out the Department of Sanitation's website for details.