Sadly, no 23 cent fee on paper bags in Greenwich (NY)

A Greenwich town ordinance about banning plastic grocery bags was recently passed, which is always a nice win, but sadly, a proposed charge of (a minimum of) 23 cents for recycled paper bags didn't make it.

The original ordinance called for paper bags sold by stores to be composed of 40 to 100 percent recycled material and containing the words “Reusable” and “Recyclable” in a “highly visible manner” along with the name and location of the manufacturer and the percentage of recycled material. A US$ 250 penalty for the first offense and US $500 for any subsequent violation had been proposed, too.

The grocery bag fee, which met with lots of outrage, had been backed by BYO Greenwich, a group trying to eliminate the use of paper and plastic bags and encourage Greenwich residents to switch to reusable canvas grocery bags to cut down on pollution.

Bringo's take: while there is and will be all kinds of pushback (if not 'outrage') to fees and bans and taxes and so on, the simple truth is that if consumers would just start bringing their own bags, everyone wins, including the environment, and no one is going to go broke.

Oh, and consumers WILL bring their own bags, the moment you sufficiently tax/price the single-use bags. And yes, that includes paper bags, which, while often 'better' for the environment than most plastic bags, still have a serious eco-impact, including production processes requiring masses of water. 

So time to reduce the waste from ALL bags, plastic and paper, by banning or seriously taxing them. More at the Greenwich Time.