NYC Bag Fee Legislation

Themes

Chapter: New York City
State: NY
Country: USA
Theme: Plastic Pollution
Launch Date: September 05 2012
Completion Date: May 27 2016
Status: Victory

Goal
To pass legislation putting a fee on single use bags in New York City.

The NYC Chapter along with the BagitNYC coalition succeeded in passing legislation putting a 5-cent fee on all single use checkout type paper and plastic bags. The bill allows the merchant to keep the fee and is aimed at reducing the 9 billion plastic bags NYC uses every year. Read more in the Coastal Blog Post here.

The campaign had its own website and hashtag, http://bagitnyc.org and #bagitnyc. That website has photos of bags that were posted and tagged with the hashtag #bagitnyc, and it puts them on a map also showing City Council districts. Chapter Activist John Coghlan spoke at the press events and official hearings during the campaign and kept the chapter on track along the way. Chapter Chair Nick Lynn provided creative graphics throughout the campaign thereby maximizing engagement on the web and elsewhere.

A previous version of the bill had the fee at 10 cents. But bill sponsors Councilman Brad Lander and Councilwoman Margaret Chin were able to get additional sponsors, enough to ensure passage, by reducing the fee to 5 cents. Surfrider Foundation is confident that a 5-cent fee will still be effective since that was our experience with the 5-cent fee in Washington DC passed in 2009.

Jennie Romer and the many groups in the BagitNYC coalition were instrumental in driving the legislation, the legislators, and the events that kept this bill moving over two years.  

Introduced in March, 2014, the bill had 20 sponsors and was heard in the Sanitation Committee in October 2014.