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The Cost of Plastic Bags in New York

Saturday, February 10, 2018 12:23
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You would think that with all the news about plastic bags and their effect on the environment, that leading states and cities would be banning them right and left. Take for instance New York, who despite climate change commitments has opposed adopting a 5 cent fee per plastic bag…. Seriously… 5 cents. The Plastic Bag industry says it would be a hardship on poor people.

Image: Rikomatic NYC Bag Protest

I Just Got To Eco You:

  • 5 Cents is the cost of a single use plastic bag in NYC which is being opposed.
  • $12.5 million  TAXPAYER Dollars it costs to dispose of plastic bags in in New York City.
  • 1,700 Tons of Plastic Bags are in the trash weekly in New York City. That equals 91,000 tons of plastic and carry out bags per year.
  • 10 billion single-use plastic bags a year in New York City Alone (NY Times)
  • 23 billion single use bags New Yorkers Use
  • 22.75 Billion plastic bags not recycled.

You think you’re special. You’re Plastic! Made to be thrown away!”
– Lotso, to plastic toys about to be incinerated, “Toy Story 3”

Reports from several recycling centers in New York stated:

  • Plastic bags cost them more than $300,000 per year for reasons that include screen cleaning, employee time spent fixing jams, and wear on parts.
  • Employee time spent fixing jams and cleaning machinery is costly and can take two employees at least one hour each shift to correct issues.
  • $500,000-$750,000 of their yearly budget is spent on maintenance and cleaning due to plastic bags.
  • In addition to the maintenance and cleanup costs, time spent on plastic bag and other film plastic cleanup in order to remove the material from other recyclables costs an additional $250,000-$300,000 each year, for a total in excess of $1 million per year.
  • $2.5 Million Taxpayer dollars were spent to clean litter on Long Island Roads. Much of that litter is plastic bags
  • 165 million pieces of plastic floating in New York Harbor alone  (NY/ NJ BayKeeper)

Quite frankly, I am disappointed with New York, they should be a leader in weaning consumers from their addiction to plastic bags. New York City has more than 578 miles of coastline, including 14 miles of beaches… they are an important gateway and should be leading the bag ban. That and plastic bottles… on the beaches.. what a mess.




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