AF&PA opposes NY paper bag tax

Trade association says no need to penalize recyclable product.

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The Washington-based American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) has released a statement in opposition to a proposed tax on paper carryout bags currently under discussion in the New York legislature.

States AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman, “Taxing paper carryout bags is a regressive move that wrongfully penalizes a product that is recyclable, easily processed at municipal recovery facilities, compostable, made of recycled material and reusable.”

She continues, “Retail stores today have the option to charge for carryout bags or any other in-store service without needing permission from the state. A state-required fee creates state-mandated profits at the expense of customers, particularly impacting low-income New Yorkers.”

The AF&PA calls paper bags “an environmental success story,” adding they are made from a renewable resource (trees) or from recycled paper. In 2017, 65.8 percent of all paper consumed in the United States was recovered for recycling, and the recovery rate has met or exceeded 63 percent for the past nine years, states the group, calling paper the “most-recycled material in the U.S. today.”

According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study, more paper by weight is recovered for recycling from municipal solid waste streams than glass, plastic and aluminum combined.

 The AF&PA’s member companies are part of a sector that make nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people.