On Thursday, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito backed an effort to reduce plastic bag use and waste.
Councilman Brad Lander, D-Brooklyn, championed the legislation, which will charge a nickel for each plastic or paper bag New Yorkers use at supermarkets and shops. The fee is meant to encourage shoppers to bring reusable bags to stores instead of taking plastic ones.
The city spends more than $12 million a year dumping 91,000 pounds of plastic bags in landfills, according to the council. Lander had already amassed majority support for the bill, but it could be the tightest vote of the council's legislative season, he told Crain's.
Opponents of the bill say its yet another tax on city residents and burdens the poor. The proposed fee was reduced to 5 cents from 10 cents to address such concerns.
Mark-Viverito's support for the bill guarantees its passage next week by the City Council.