Is This the Death of the Plastic Bag?

by Kiratiana Freelon and Minda Smiley

By 2015, New Yorkers might be paying for the billions of plastic bags that they use every year.

Last year, New York Councilmembers Brad Lander and Margaret Chin introduced a bill to charge a fee of 10 cents per plastic bag in New York.

Recently, Chin and Lander renewed efforts to gain support for the bill. To support their case, they cited startling statistics: New Yorkers use 5 billion plastic bags annually. The city also spends $10 million a year to transport 100,000 tons of plastic bags to other states. They hope the fee will encourage New Yorkers to use reusable bags while shopping.

While some New Yorkers don’t want to pay for plastic bags, others welcome the fee, especially surfer Eric Schaal.

“It really hit me one day,” Schaal said. “I surf, and I was out in Rockaway, and I was actually paddling through plastic trash in the water and I thought ‘you know, we’ve kind of come to that point where somebody needs to do something.’”

Cities that have banned bags:

map by Minda Smiley