Letter to the Editor: Charging for Paper Bags
The head of the American Forest & Paper Association sees a “regressive move.”
May 8, 2019
To the Editor:
Re “Paper or Plastic? The City Has a Plan to Get You to Say No to Both” (news article, April 23), about the New York City Council’s approval of a nickel charge on paper bags following the statewide ban on single-use plastic bags:
Paper is part of the solution, not the problem. Paper is recyclable, compostable, reusable and made from a renewable resource, trees, which capture and store carbon from the atmosphere. By weight, more paper is recovered for recycling from municipal waste streams than glass, plastic and aluminum combined.
About two-thirds of the energy used to make paper, including paper bags, comes from renewable, carbon-neutral biomass, not fossil fuel. About 88 percent of the water used to make paper bags is returned to the waterway after being treated. Water discharges from paper bag manufacturing must meet stringent standards of the Clean Water Act and state water quality standards.
That environmental success story should be encouraged, not punished by taxation — a regressive move that burdens hard-working citizens, increases the cost of basic necessities and disproportionately affects low-income citizens.
The writer is president and chief executive of the American Forest & Paper Association.