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PNS Daily Newscast - August 13, 2020 

Minutes after Biden selected Harris as VP, she throws first punch at Trump; teachers raise their hands with safety concerns.

2020Talks - August 13, 2020 

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris make their first public appearance as running mates. President Trump calls Georgia's Marjorie Taylor Greene a GOP "star," despite her support for conspiracy theory QAnon.

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

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.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY