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NY Proposes 6-Cent Surcharge For Plastic Shopping Bags

plastic_bags.jpgNew York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is calling for a 6-cent fee for every plastic shopping bag given to shoppers, with 1 cent going to the retailer and 5 cents going to the city, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Officials estimate that the plastic-bag surcharge could bring in $16 million annually. The surcharge is considered a fee and not a tax, so it only needs to be approved by New York’s City Council.

However, several City Council members told the New York Times that only a few months ago, speakers testified in a public debate — over a proposed bill requiring all stores that provide plastic bags to accept plastic bags for recycling– that at least 25 cents a bag fee was needed to get consumers to change their behavior.

Critics are also concerned that the plastic-bag surcharge may affect poor residents, as well as small business, disproportionately.

Last year, San Francisco banned plastic bags for large supermarkets and pharmacies. In October, IKEA announced that its no longer offering plastic or paper bags at any of its U.S. stores.

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