Bloomberg Calls For Plastic Bag Fee in NYC

6¢ charge pleases greenies, would help city's fiscal problems
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 7, 2008 11:37 AM CST
Tracy Conrad hauls shopping bags during a visit to San Francisco’s Union Square on Friday, Nov. 23, 2007. The city has since enacted a ban on plastic shopping bags, and other cities may soon follow.   (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – After an ad campaign urging New Yorkers to use greener alternatives to plastic shopping bags, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to impose a 6¢-per-bag charge, the Times reports. While environmentalists approve, and the city’s coffers stand to gain, many think the measure will be unpopular with shoppers, and critics say the charge will hurt those who can least afford to pay.

City officials estimate the plastic surcharge will bring in $16 million per year, though a similar measure in Ireland cut plastic-bag use by 94%. The city council must still approve the fee, which comes at a time of rising taxes and general Big Apple belt-tightening. “We’re paying taxes on everything else,” one East Harlem resident sighed. “Why not bags, right?”