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PNS Daily Newscast - June 11, 2021 

We reflect and update as HIV/AIDS first came to national attention 40 years ago this month; and when it comes to infrastructure spending, bipartisanship isn't dead yet.

2021Talks - June 11, 2021 

President Biden offers up more COVID-19 vaccines to the world; Dems and GOP close in on an infrastructure deal; and Speaker Pelosi tries to quell a spat over the Middle East among Democrats.

NY vs. Plastic Bags: Big Advances or Baby Steps?

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 By Mark ScheererContact
February 4, 2009

It could take more than a nickel to save New York's environment.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to put a five-cent fee on new plastic bags at city stores, on the heels of a statewide law last month expanding the recycling of such bags. Both are good moves, according to Laura Height of New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), but are ultimately very modest proposals.

"Well, they're taking baby steps and I can't fault them for that. I mean, before the plastic bag law went into effect, there were very, very few municipal recycling programs that took plastic bags."

Height says a fee on the bags sold in New York City will encourage some shoppers to use alternatives, but not enough. She says a more effective way of discouraging plastic bag proliferation would be to raise the fee for them at store registers much higher than the five cents Mayor Bloomberg proposes.

"In Ireland, back in 2002, they instituted a plastic bag tax of about 15 cents a bag, and they saw a 90-percent reduction in plastic bag use."

The bags clog landfills, pollute communities and wind up in waterways, threatening wildlife. The plastic bag industry counters that many people re-use them for other tasks and recommends recycling as a cost- and energy-efficient process.

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