Help stop the bag tax in New York City!

Can you afford another tax? The New York City Council voted to add a 5-cent tax on every plastic and paper grocery bag across the city – but we still have the chance to stop it. The tax is not the answer to our problems, nor is it beneficial to our community. In fact, the tax on grocery bags will be harmful to New York City’s most vulnerable residents, including low-income residents, senior citizens and working families.

¿Puede afrontar un nuevo impuesto? El Consejo Municipal de Nueva York votó a favor de agregar un impuesto de 5 centavos sobre cada bolsa de plástico y de papel en la ciudad, pero aún podemos detenerlo. El impuesto no es la respuesta a nuestros problemas, ni beneficia a nuestra comunidad. De hecho, el impuesto sobre las bolsas perjudicará a los residentes más vulnerables de la ciudad, incluyendo las personas de bajos recursos, las personas mayores y las familias de clase trabajadora.

We are united against the bag tax in New York.

Here are the facts.

The New York City Council passed the tax, claiming it would be good for the environment and good for New Yorkers, but here are the real facts you need to know.

El Consejo Municipal de Nueva York aprobó a ley, alegando que beneficiaría al medio ambiente y a los neoyorquinos, pero aquí le presentamos los hechos reales que debe conocer.

Myth

Sponsors of the bill to tax plastic retail bags claim they are “single-use,” and “not designed for multiple reuses.” 

Fact

Not only are plastic retail bags reusable, but studies consistently show that 90% of people reuse their bags for several household purposes.

Myth

A tax on plastic retail bags will significantly reduce the amount of waste and litter in the environment.

Fact

Plastic bags comprise less than 2% of the New York City waste stream, so taxing plastic bags will not have a significant impact on waste reduction in the city. Similarly, plastic retail bags traditionally make up less than 1% of litter.

Myth

Paper and “reusable” bags are better for the environment than plastic retail bags.

Fact

Plastic bags are the most environmentally-friendly choice at the checkout. They consume fewer natural resources, generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions, take up less landfill space than paper or “reusable” bags and are made in America. The vast majority of reusable bags are made from petroleum and manufactured overseas. 

Myth

There’s no demand for recycled plastic. 

Fact

There is a market for recycled plastic because it is cheaper to use recycled plastic than to purchase raw materials. Recycled plastic can be turned into many things beyond just new plastic bags. Following Hurricane Sandy, decking materials containing recycled plastic bags were used to rebuild boardwalks throughout New York and New Jersey. 

Myth

The New York City Council’s plastic bag tax is friendly to low-income and vulnerable New Yorkers. 

Fact

The NYC bag tax will burden the millions of New Yorkers who struggle to make ends meet, as well as many disabled citizens who rely on lightweight plastic bags for their shopping.  Though stores will waive the charge for providing paper or plastic bags for customers using SNAP or WIC benefits, the exemption does nothing for the working poor who are not SNAP or WIC participants and will have to pay more for their groceries.

Myth

Taxing plastic retail bags will have no effect on the economy.

Fact

The plastic bag industry employs over 30,000 Americans across the United States, with 1,800 working families in New York State relying on the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling sector for their livelihoods. Alternatively, “reusable” bags are largely produced overseas. 

Myth

Plastic bags are not recyclable and have a tendency to jam recycling equipment, leading to costly repairs.

Fact

Plastic retail bags are 100% recyclable, and the industry has created more than 30,000 retailer drop-off points to make plastic bag recycling as easy as possible for consumers. In addition to plastic retail bags, New Yorkers can return newspaper, dry cleaning, bread and cereal bags as well as overwraps on cases of bottles, paper towels and bath tissue at these points. This retailer take-back system is efficient and separate from municipal recycling facilities. In fact, certain stores are mandated by New York State law to provide plastic bag collection bins onsite. 

Myth

Low recycling rates for plastic bags prove recycling them doesn’t work. 

Fact

Recycling works. The problem is not everyone knows that plastic grocery bags are 100% recyclable and not everyone has access to plastic bag recycling in their community. A city-wide plastic bag education campaign would help change this. Additionally, recycling rates for plastic bags are lower than other products because so many people reuse them as trash bags. This reuse keeps new and often thicker plastic out of the waste stream and is a unique attribute of the plastic bag. 

Myth

Plastic retail bags are made from oil and are commonly made overseas.

Fact

The standard plastic grocery bag is American-made, even produced in the boroughs of New York City, and are made from a byproduct of natural gas. 

Myth

SNAP & WIC participants are completely exempt from paying the 5 cent tax.

Fact

As per Councilmember Lander himself, SNAP & WIC participants are only exempt when they are using their card or food stamps. If they are paying with cash, they will have to pay the 5 cent tax, regardless of income. 

Myth

The Sponsors emphasize that because plastic bag fees and bans have been implemented in a number of cities, that a tax will be successful in New York City. 

Fact

Unlike San Francisco and Washington, D.C., New York City is a walking city. This tax may pass muster in some wealthier neighborhoods but not with the working class of the City.

Send a letter to your legislator.

It’s not too late to stop the grocery bag tax in New York City. Enter your information below and tell Governor Cuomo to repeal this misguided and harmful policy.

No es demasiado tarde para detener el impuesto sobre las bolsas de plastico y papel en la ciudad de Nueva York. Ingrese su información y pida al gobernador Cuomo que detenga esta política errónea y perjudicial.