The New York City Council has finally made their move on plastic bags. On Monday, they disappointingly introduced legislation that will require any store of 5,000 square feet or more to take back plastic bags for recycling. Is it my imagination, or did San Francisco try that a few years ago and got about a 3% rate of return? Which is why they later outright banned the bags.
Does the City Council think New Yorkers are so much more conscientious than San Franciscans? Do they think that we'll be so relieved to have avoided a ban, that we'll recycle our bags in droves?
It is encouraging that they did not limit the measure to grocery and drug stores, but to any kind of retailer. I'll have to look into what the average size New York store is, and how many are under the limit.
The proposed legislation would also require supermarkets to sell reusable bags (cloth or durable plastic). This week I happened to see a display of reusable bags at a grocery store. I keep running across comments about how most grocery stores sell or give away reusable totes these day, but had never seen one. Not in my neighborhood. In fact this display wasn't in my neighborhood, but in Sunnyside, Queens, where I was visiting my aunt.
Will the idea ever catch on in beautiful downtown Bed-Stuy? Maybe if recycling proves to be enough of a nuisance to retailers, reusables will seem like a better option.