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Mayor De Blasio Fights Criticism Of Five-cent Plastic Bag Fee

 A new five cent fee on bags is motivated by environmental concerns — not politically influential grocery store moguls who will now triple bag every can of peas, Mayor de Blasio said Friday.

Hizzoner was grilled on the new fee, which applies to disposable paper and plastic bags, by a caller on the Brian Lehrer show, Lisa from Manhattan. “Why do the stores get to keep the money? Given all the political contributions from grocery store magnates and the other stuff that goes on, why shouldn’t New Yorkers be very suspicious of that?” she said. “To say nothing of the fact that is gives the stores every incentive to triple bag each individual can of peas.”

De Blasio said the city wants to encourage people to use reusable bags, and opted to have stores keep the money because of legal constraints — the city can mandate the charge on its own, but Albany would have to approve a tax that goes into city coffers.

Plastic bags “are a fundamental problem. They’re costing the taxpayer a huge amount of money because we have to put them in our waste stream and haul them to landfills all over. They’re literally not biodegradable. They’re made out of petroleum. They in fact make global warming worse,” de Blasio said.

“This is the way we could do it most quickly,” he said, predicting shoppers’ habits would change quickly. “There’s not going to be money going into the hands of anybody, once we get people to use reusable bags.”

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