A Modest Proposal: 10 Ways to Incentivize New Yorker to Give Up their Plastic Bags
banning all plastic bags from being distributed in our city, I panicked. Then I counted my stockpile. I have exactly 25 plastic bags at home. I wondered: Will that be enough to get me through once these bags are no longer freely available at every Duane Reade, liquor store, and bodega? How many more might I need to collect before they become a scarce commodity? I've been hoarding plastic bags since I was 12. On my very first trip to Europe, I just couldn't bear the thought of parting with all of the cool packaging from the touristy knick-knacks that I'd picked up along the way. So I folded them up neatly and stored them in my closet in a shoebox. While I still collect bags today, it's for much less nobler causes. Like, bagging up cat litter. Or collecting shards from the 1-2 glasses I inevitably break each month. I find it very important to always have a bag with you when you travel around the city. After all, you never know when you're going to need it for surprise leftovers or to bag up some article of clothing that you managed to get wet and destroy in the middle of the day. My most extreme use of plastic bags was when I used a couple to tie up my wet sandals before traveling back home from a trip to Asia. But then, by the time I finally remembered to unpack them from the plastic, my sandals had grown a fuzzy layer of mold all over them. Just goes to show the power of plastic bags: Nothing can get through the stuff. Which, I suppose, is why we ought to ban them. While I'm a huge proponent of recycling and saving the environment, let's not deny the facts: Plastic bags feel like an essential currency of a New Yorker's life. It's going to take a lot to get New Yorkers to give up their at-home stockpiles of these river-ruiners, fish traps, and planet Earth poison pellets. We need alternatives. We need incentives. And so, in the spirit of April Fool's Day and to acknowledge this lapse of governmental planning in this process, I've created a top 10 list of ways they city and state might convince New Yorkers to give up their plastic bags at home.