New York Attempts to Keep Pace with California on Curbing Plastic Bags
September 17, 2014
by Mike Clifford
(NEW YORK) California is poised to become first in the nation to enact a statewide ban on single-use grocery-store plastic bags – and local advocates say New York is working to keep pace.
Tuesday was Advocacy Day at the New York City Council, and Jennie Romer, a New York attorney and founder of PlasticBagLaws.org, said more than 100 students from eight local schools spoke to council members in support of a measure to impose a similar fee in the city for plastic bag use.
“We’re getting very close,” she said, “so, there’s a bill before the city council that would put a 10-cent charge on all single-use carry-out bags in New York City.”
Romer said the measure is headed to the council’s Sanitation Committee. Communities from Long Island to Westchester will be keeping a close eye on the council action, she said, as they work to impose similar measures across the state.
Bill Hickman, executive director of Cleanups for Change in California, said there is little secret why Californians feel they have a unique obligation to combat plastic-bag pollution.
“We’re a coastal state,” he said. “We have a responsibility to find source reductions of plastics. And it’s really just a tip of the plastic-bag iceberg, but something that has an easy solution, in the reusable bags.”
Romer said Long Island shares a lot of California’s concerns about tackling the issue.
“That’s one of the big motivations on Long Island, is protecting the shore,” she said. “A lot of the groups that work on the issue there tend to focus on plastic-bag litter and it getting into the waterways, getting into the beaches and the ocean.”
The California legislation, SB 270, closely matches Hawaii’s ban on plastic bags. While opponents argue it will cost consumers and businesses money, advocates say the ban is the first step in putting an end to 30 years worth of single-use plastic bag litter, which never decomposes.
California is poised to become the first state in the nation to institute a statewide ban on single-use grocery store plastic bags. Advocates say New York is working to keep pace. Photo courtesy of Heal the Bay.
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