New legislation that is aimed to dramatically reduce bag use in New York City would put a $.10 surcharge on plastic or paper carry out bags at grocery and retail stores.
The legislation was introduced by city council members Brad Lander and Margaret Chin.
They say the proposed charge would not be a tax and the stores would actually keep the money to cover the cost of providing bags.
"It can be easy to forget the impact we each have on the environment - an impact that really adds up when you have a city of eight million people," said Council Member Brad Lander. "The truth is, there are a lot of times that we don't really need a plastic bag."
The bill's backers say that New Yorkers use 5.2 billion carryout bags per year, the vast majority of which are not recycled.
New York City pays an estimated $10 million to transport 100,000 tons of plastic bags to landfills in other states each year, according to the city.
New York State currently has a voluntary plastic bag recycling program. Large retailers must take-back and recycle plastic bags.
Restaurants would not be covered due to limited alternatives for delivery and take-out food orders.
Under the legislation, stores would be required to waive the charge for providing paper or plastic bags for transactions where the customer is using food stamps.