Governor Andrew Cuomo declined the passing of the a bill that would have imposed a 5- cent fee on plastic bags because it would allow the profits from the plastic bag fee to be kept by the owner of the store. He also claimed that the plastic bag fee would end up as burden on poor consumers, for whom the convenience of plastic bags was an everyday practicality.
In my opinion these are the reasons why New York should charge for plastic bags:
- It would cut bag usage by 60 percent, saving the city $12.5 million in sanitation fees.
- Plastic bags have a range of harmful environmental effects—they can become ocean debris, harm wildlife, and clog up the city’s waste stream.
- Low-income individuals who make SNAP or WIC transactions would be exempted from paying the fees.
- Other cities and countries who have introduced similar tax have had experienced sharp reduction in the number of plastic bags.
- Once in the environment, it takes months to hundreds of years for plastic bags to breakdown. As they decompose, tiny toxic bits seep into soils, lakes, rivers, and the oceans.
The awareness of a problem does not lead to a change in behavior. People who learn about the importance of clean energy do not necessarily start using clean energy.The sudden change in action for a person to opt for a reusable bag rather than a plastic bag with a fee attached to it is most likely not coming from a sudden concern for the environment or the planet; but rather the option to choose a reusable bag rather than a plastic bag results from behavior. What we need to be doing is to encourage a new social norm.Everyone starts doing it because everyone else was doing it.
What better way to encourage a new social norm than for the government to set the precedent. A social norm that encourages the endless use of plastic bags. Attaching a 5-cent fee to plastic bags would be a step in the direction of a greener planet and a greener America.