The City Council here voted yesterday 44-2 to require supermarkets and drug stores to collect plastic bags for recycling. The legislation, which reports said was thus far unopposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, applies to stores that use plastic bags and occupy 5,000 or more square feet or have more than five outlets in New York City, according to a statement from the City Council.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn said "You shouldn't walk around and have the city's flower be a plastic bag that's eternally blossoming in a tree. We want to end that time in our city,"
Supermarkets that belong to chains of more than five stores or that have more than 5,000 square feet will now have to:
* Place recycling bins in stores.
* Use plastic bags that are clearly marked as recyclable.
* Accept shoppers' bags from other stores, as well as shrink wrap and dry-cleaning bags.
Some 2,000 stores will be affected, and violators are subject to fines of $300 daily.
Stores would be required to provide collection bins and would have to use plastic bags printed with the words “Please return this bag to a participating store for recycling” or a similar message. They would also have to offer reusable bags for sale to shoppers. The stores will also be required to submit annual reports to the Department of Sanitation on the amount and weight of collected plastic bags.