New Yorkers are madder than usual – this time over a proposed fee on plastic bags.
The New York Times explains:
The New York City Council has a bill to limit the use of plastic bags. It would charge people a dime for them at retail and grocery stores. The money would go directly to retailers, who would use it to stock paper and reusable bags. The idea is to get New Yorkers to cut back on the 5.2 billion plastic bags they go through each year.
Seattle instituted a similar policy in 2012. There, plastic bags are banned and retailers are required to charge 5 cents for each paper bag they give out.
I wish there wasn’t a need for laws like this. I wish we could all be responsible citizens of the Earth and bring our bags most of the time. That way, we could get a pass the times we buy more than fits in our bags or we find ourselves bagless.
I also don’t agree with the argument that we reuse the plastic bags we get and would therefore just buy bags and the problem wouldn’t go away. I bring my own bags most of the time, but I still have more than enough plastic bags under my sink for my disposable bag needs.
I always bought kitchen garbage bags because few store bags are big enough, but if you do use your store bags as your main garbage bag, this will affect your habits. My need to buy bags hasn’t gone up. If you really want to know my habits, I dump the bathroom trash into the kitchen trash bag when I take it out, so I don’t have to change the bathroom bag every time. I scoop the litter box into the kitchen bag as well.
I don’t have a dog, but most of my friends with dogs buy the biodigradable blue bags on a neat roll anyway. I rarely see a dog walker with a pocketful of Safeway bags on walks.
I took a poll of Seattle friends who have been living with this ban for two years now. One reports that he has plenty of plastic bags for cleaning his own cat’s litter box from things like the bag the newspaper comes in to keep it dry and the bags he puts his apples in at the supermarket.
Some friends reported feeling guilty when they forget their bags, often accepting the fee as a way to remind themselves to bring bags. Many say the law is inconvenient, but they respect the intent. One says he refuses to bring his own bag and pays the fee every time on principle.
Finally, I prefer to bring my own sturdy bags because it’s easier to carry bags home on my shoulders than a bunch of flimsy plastic bags or paper bags with short handles. I often carry groceries home 10+ blocks. When I plan ahead, I bring my best bags that don’t pack small. When I’m stopping on my way home, I use one of the three bags that roll up tight that I keep in my purse and gym bag.