Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New York State Blocks NYC's Plastic Bag Fee

The problem of single use plastics and their harmful impact on our waterways and oceans is well known.  Many diverse environmental and governmental entities, including COA, are working on different strategies to reduce or eliminate single use plastics from our everyday lives.  New York City lawmakers investigated the issue of plastics pollution management for two years, and introduced a plastic bag fee legislation in 2016.  This NYC plastic bag fee law required retailers to charge an additional 5 cents for every plastic bag, and was to go into effect on Feb 15, 2017.  Critically, the fee would have gone back to the merchants – this is a very important point that we will get back to.

In a significant setback, NY state Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday signed a bill into law which postpones all city led bag fees until at least 2018.  Read these news story for details:



COA advocates for the reduction and elimination of single use plastics through well-designed policies and programs, wherein any fee collected would go towards the management of these wastes, and not back to the merchants. This approach has worked extremely well in many cities, such as Washington D.C. Regardless of the structure of the fee,  it is disappointing that regulations to reduce the use of single use plastic bags in New York city have been delayed once again. Hopefully Governor Cuomo’s promised “statewide task force to develop a uniform state plan for addressing the plastic bag problem” will result in rapid and concrete action on this issue. Note that in New Jersey, bills to impose a nickel-fee on single use plastic bags have stalled in Trenton after being introduced last spring. Call your Governor and State elected officials and tell them you support laws that will discourage the use of single use plastic!

§  Contact your Governor:
§  For NJ residents, contact your State Senate and Assembly Representatives:

§  For NY residents, contact your State Senate and Assembly Representatives:

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