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Friday, November 7, 2008

Paying for Plastic Bags?

The New York Times has an interesting article this morning - In Mayor’s Plan, the Plastic Bag Will Carry a Fee:

"In its struggle to make New York more green, the Bloomberg administration has tried discouraging people from using plastic bags. It has taken out ads beseeching residents to use cloth bags and set up recycling bins for plastic bags at supermarkets. But now the carrots have been put away, and the stick is out: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has called for charging shoppers 6 cents for every plastic bag needed at the register."

The fee (not tax) is one of the ideas of Mayor Bloomberg to make NYC greener. A similar fee of 33 cents per bag in Ireland brought down plastic bag use by 94 percent in a year. Critics say that the fee is too small to make a difference in the behavior of shoppers, but judging from the outrage generated by the proposal that may not be the case.

I personally think it is quite reasonable to charge for plastic bags. Seems like having a financial incentive is one of the best ways to change people's habits. The charge can be easily avoided by bringing a canvas bag (or used plastic bag) or placing your items in your backpack or just carrying them without a bag to your car. What do you think? Do you use canvas bags? Any tricks to remember bringing a canvas bag to the store?

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