Reactions a mixed bag to 5-cent fee

A plastic-bag toting resident of Peter Cooper, Donald Meyers, welcomed the City Council bill, but still had concerns. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

A plastic-bag toting resident of Peter Cooper, Donald Meyers, welcomed the City Council bill, but still had concerns. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Last week, the City Council passed a bill that would impose a five cent fee on anyone who wants a plastic or paper bag to put their groceries in. New Yorkers on food stamps would be exempted, but otherwise the fee would be paid by consumers to the stores, rather than the city. The mayor is expected to sign off on the bill soon, which supporters have claimed will reduce plastic waste in the Big Apple by 90 tons a year.

Meanwhile, T&V polled residents of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town on the issue, finding no shortage of arguments for and against the legislation (Intro 209-a).

One woman who said she uses a lot of plastic bags said she didn’t mind the bill. “If it’s good for the environment,” said Sondra Dagessar, as she sat with neighbors on a bench in Peter Cooper, “I’ll buy one of those special strong bags.”

Next to her was Ronnie Messer, who said she also didn’t mind the bill, pointing out that she carried around a tote bag that folded up to the size of a travel tissue pack. She’d bought it in Europe, where similar legislation discouraging the use of plastic bags has already been in effect. The only problem with this, Messer noted, is, “I forget about it and then I get a plastic bag (at the store).” Still, she added, “I guess I support it. We recycle.”

Another neighbor, Sophie Green, chimed in, “It’s expensive, but if it helps the environment, I don’t think it’s a bad idea.”

A few yards away from them, on the other side of the Peter Cooper fountain was a man who, as he sat reading, had several bags from Morton Williams on the bench next to him.

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