New York City Council Passes Bag Recycling Bill

Chinese Herbalist

Bag news from all over

The City Council here voted yesterday by a wide margin to require supermarkets and drug stores to collect plastic bags for recycling. The legislation, which reports said was thus far unopposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, applies to stores that use plastic bags and occupy 5,000 or more square feet or have more than five outlets in New York City, according to a statement from the City Council. Stores would be required to provide collection bins and would have to use plastic bags printed with the words “Please return this bag to a participating store for recycling” or a similar message. They would also have to offer reusable bags for sale to shoppers. The stores will also be required to submit annual reports to the Department of Sanitation on the amount and weight of collected plastic bags.

[From New York City Council Passes Bag Recycling Bill]

Every little bit helps.

The NYT writes:

The City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring large stores and retail chains to collect and recycle plastic bags they give to shoppers. New York is by far the largest American city to enact so broad a measure to limit the environmental impact of the bags. Altogether, each year the country is estimated to use 86 billion bags, which end up blowing down city streets, or tangled in the stomachs of whales and sea turtles, or buried in landfills where, environmental organizations say, they persist for as long as 1,000 years.

Plastic bags are a source of environmental anxiety for New Yorkers, who use one billion a year, Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said in an interview after the vote. City dwellers consider recycling “more and more” important, she explained, but until now have not had a ready means of recycling the bags.

But under the new bill, which had a surprising amount of support from retailers and plastic-bag manufacturers, stores that give the bags to customers must provide recycling bins for the bags in a prominent place in the store. The legislation applies to stores of 5,000 square feet or larger, as well as all branches of chains with more than five locations in the city.

Shoppers will be invited to deposit plastic shopping bags as well as other stretchy plastic materials, such as dry-cleaning bags. Stiff plastic bags with cardboard bottoms are out, since they are considered reusable.

Consumers can drop off bags from any store, not just the one where the bin is located. “It would be terrible if you had to have your Duane Reade pile and your D’Agostino pile,” Ms. Quinn explained. “That would be a nightmare.” [From City Council Passes Bill for Recycling of Plastic Bags - New York Times]

Catsimatidis is running for Mayor? Really?

immediately faced criticism from John A. Catsimatidis, the Gristedes supermarket magnate, who is eyeing a mayoral run on the Republican ticket; he called the proposal a case of too much regulatory meddling. Mr. Catsimatidis’s criticism soon died down, and the Food Industry Alliance, which represents 750 supermarkets in the city, backed the bill after pushing through some changes. “We already have a lot of members who have taken up this cause,” said Patricia Brodhagen, vice president of public affairs for the Alliance. ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Food Emporium and others already collect bags voluntarily. Whole Foods, which is not a member, promotes reusable bags and offers small discounts for returned bags.

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on January 10, 2008 1:12 PM.

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