De Blasio requests statewide ban on plastic bags for New York City


Tara Macchione, Senior Editor

“Paper or Plastic?” The repetitive question may be one that New Yorkers no longer have to hear at their local grocery stores. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio has requested a statewide ban on plastic shopping bags.

In 2017, the City Council of New York City passed a bill that implemented a 5 cent fee for every plastic or paper bag used at grocery stores. This was intended to help reduce litter and save the environment, encouraging shoppers to bring reusable bags with them while shopping. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state legislature did not let the city impose the fee.

This year, De Blasio has decided to take a big step by attempting to ban plastic bags all together, tweeting, “We need to ban plastic bags — the time for the debate on this is over. They’re bad for the environment, they’re bad for the economy, they’re bad for New York. The state is behind the curve here, it’s time to put our planet first.”

Cuomo is now on board with the idea of banning plastic bags, and highly considering the statewide ban on them. Richard Azzopardi, Cuomo spokesman said, “It’s clear that we need to address the real environmental concerns caused by the proliferation of plastic ‎bags, and a ban is one of the options we’re reviewing,” This ban would lessen the amount of trash in the streets, help the environment and save New York City a lot of money.

This would also put a 10-25 cent fee on paper and reusable bags as well. This fee on bags may be very beneficial to the environment and stores, but not necessarily for customers. For middle to upper class people this new law of an extra few dollars for grocery bags is no problem. Shoppers with very low incomes can be exempt from this with SNAP and WIC benefits, but unfortunately there are many working people who do not meet exemption, and are still unable to afford the new “bag tax”on top of their regular grocery bills.  All economical incomes should be considered before putting this law into full effect.