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07 Nov 2008: New York Mayor Calls for Six-Cent Fee on All Plastic Bags

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a six-cent fee for all plastic shopping bags used in the city’s shops, delis and grocery stores, a so-called plastic bag tax that could make the city greener and generate about $16 million a year, according to city officials. It would also make New York the first U.S. city to assess such a fee on plastic, although similar fees are common in Europe. A stiff 33-cent tax in Ireland, for example, prompted a 94 percent drop in plastic bag use within one year, according to the New York Times. In New York, consumers would be charged 6 cents per plastic bag at the point of sale, with a penny going to the store owner as incentive for compliance, according to the Bloomberg administration. The proposal was praised by environmentalists. “It’s simple, it’s streamlined, it advances environmental objectives and it generates some funds,” said Eric A. Goldstein, a senior lawyer with the National Resources Defense Council. A similar tax will go before voters in Seattle next year.


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