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January 16, 2008

New York City Council Passes Bill for Recycling of Plastic Bags

New York Times 01.10.08

The New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a bill (44 to 2) requiring large stores and retail chains to collect and recycle plastic bags they give to shoppers.

Under the new bill, which had surprising support from Progressive Bag Affiliates, a trade group that represents most American makers of plastic bags, stores that give the bags to customers must provide recycling bins for the bags in a prominent place in the store. They will also have to ensure that the bags they distribute have printed messages urging customers to return them to stores. The legislation applies to stores of 5,000 square feet or larger, as well as all branches of chains with more than five locations in the city.

Our Take: It's no surprise to us that the plastic bag industry supports the bill. It's too bad that New York City's bill misses the mark by focusing on recycling. While helpful it won't fix the problem. This initiative doesn't hit at the heart of the matter which is to significantly reduce consumption (and capture external costs associated with plastic bags). The heart of real reform focuses on implementing tactics such as Ireland's Plastax.

Link: New York Times


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So I'd like to give up getting plastic and paper bags at the grocery store, in favor of reusable bags instead. But I get stuck on how to dispose of my trash.

I live in an apartment building that requires garbage to be in bags tied shut to minimize orders and vermin. I have used plastic shopping bags to do this, rather than purchase plastic garbage bags specifically to be thrown out - working in part on the principle that the quantity of items that I purchase are in reasonable proportion to what I toss out. (vermicomposting, so far has proven impractical in my very small apartment)

So I'm looking for alternatives for how to collect and dispose of my trash within limitations that are outside of my control (building policies, small apartment, city-life, etc...)

I'd appreciate any and all practical suggestions.
Thank you!

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