Mayor Bloomberg Wants a Plastic Bag Tax
New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg wants to raise money to help offset the current financial crisis. He has proposed a 5 cent tax on every plastic bag, following in the footsteps of San Francisco and Seattle. New Yorkers use an estimated 1 billion plastic bags a year. The tax could raise an estimated 16 million dollars a year.
San Francisco bans plastic bags unless they are biodegradable, while a proposed 20-cent fee in Seattle is on hold pending a challenge. In Ireland, a 33-cent fee pushed plastic bag use down 94%.
New York considered a plastic bag tax earlier this year but settled for a mandatory recycling program, figuring most stores would just switch to paper, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens) said.
Ikea tried charging customers a nickel per bag, but when demand for its 70 million bags a year dropped 92%, the chain just eliminated them.
“There’s a positive impact on the environment,” spokesman Joseph Roth said. “It certainly has not hindered our sales, and it has helped our reputation.”
Some grocery chains already give customers a discount for every cloth bag they bring. Whole Foods switched its stores to paper bags this year, even though the plastic industry insists paper bags are worse for the environment.