After Banning Plastic Bags, NYC Will Now Tax Paper Bags

2019 is the year when New York State passed new laws aiming to phase out and eventually ban the use of plastic bags. While there is definitely an argument to be made against the use of plastic in anything that can’t be recycled indefinitely, it was still a fairly radical step to take before there were suitable, affordable replacements available. At least in the case of shopping bags, however (one of the most common uses for plastic bags), you had an old-school alternative. Paper bags have their drawbacks but are generally capable of getting your groceries home.

But hold the phone! In New York City, a plastic bag ban wasn’t enough. Now the City Council is looking at jacking up costs by taxing paper bags. This plan is going to save the world for sure. (CBS New York)

Two city council members have announced plans for legislation to place a fee on paper shopping bags.
The proposal follows the state banning most single-use plastic bags beginning next March.

Under the new law, each municipality has the option of imposing a 5-cent fee on paper bags.

Whether you happen to agree with it or not, you can at least kind of see why some people oppose the use of plastic bags. They are filling up landfills faster than we can dig new ones and they don’t decompose for centuries. The amount of plastic junk in the oceans is obscene and harms wildlife. I get it. If we can find better alternatives, I’ll definitely be willing to give them a look. But paper bags? Paper is just about the most recyclable thing we produce. And it also decomposes pretty quickly without leaving a lot of toxic residue unless you plaster it with ink.