Bloomberg’s Plan To Save New York: Tax Your Plastic Bags


Mayor Mike Bloomberg has kicked around the idea of taxing plastic bags for a few months, but it’s never really caught on. Now that the economy’s tanking, though, and New York City is going out of business, it looks like he might actually be able to get the 5 cent bag tax approved.

How much revenue will taxing each bag in New York raise? A surprising amount:

City Room: The projected revenue for this “user fee” was $84 million — a sharp increase from the last figure floated, just $16 million. Other estimates suggested the revenue would rise to $144 million by 2011 and $124 million in 2012.

…A $144 million estimate, at 5 cents a bag, means that 2.88 billion plastic bags would be used by New Yorkers each year, even with the fee. Past estimates put that figure at one billion new plastic bags.

That breaks down to one bag for every man, woman and child in New York City every single day of the year. The site estimates that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed annually around the globe. Do New Yorkers alone really consume more than 1 out every 300 plastic bags in the world?

We’re all for cutting back on wasteful consumption of too many bags, but it strikes us that life in New York is shaping up to be quite interesting for the next few years.

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