Jennie Romer Profiled in The New Yorker

Jennie Romer, founder of, was profiled in the current issue of The New Yorker. The Bag Bill: Taking action on a ubiquitous ecological blight focuses on Jennie’s pro bono work on NYC’s #BYOBag bill.



NYC’s #BYOBag Bill Moves Forward as 5-cent Fee With Majority Support

The NYC #BYOBag bill fee was recently reduced from 10 cents to a 5 cents and now has 26 co-sponsors, meaning that it has majority support of the 51-member City Council. The amended bill was recently endorsed by the Crains New York Business editorial board. To keep up to date on the NYC bill, follow BagItNYC on Facebook or @BagItNYC on Twitter.

The full PRESS RELEASE dated April 13, 2016 from NYC Council Members Lander. Chin, and Reynoso is pasted below. Read the rest of this entry »

Upcoming plastic bag bill events in NYC

February 25th: “Conservation Conversations” event sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman at NYU

Join Jennie Romer (attorney and founder of for this “Conservation Conversations” event at NYU sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman about the impact of plastic bags on our environment on February 25th at 6:30pm. Make sure to RSVP (see poster)!








March 1st: Competition for best Elevator Pitch about NYC’s Bag Bill sponsored by Manhattan BP Gale Brewer

Do you live in NYC and want to learn more about NYC’s bag bill? Or do you know all about the bill but want to refine your pitch (how you describe it to your friends and neighbors)? Come to this competition and work with experienced coaches then get the chance to compete for best “elevator pitch” about the bill. Be sure to RSVP (see poster) and check out this FB event page.

Camel: “Albatross of the desert” (new video)

Artist Chris Jordan is well known for his striking photos of dead albatross with stomachs full of plastic in Midway Atoll. This new video from Chris Jordan features a Camel Gastrolith full of plastic bags and these camels are being called the “Albatross of the desert”. Read the rest of this entry »

City Council Member in Arizona Sues to Repeal State Law Prohibiting Municipalities From Regulating Plastic Bags

Tempe City Council Member Lauren Kuby filed a complaint in Arizona Superior Court in September seeking to overturn SB 1241, the statewide law that prohibits municipalities from regulating “auxiliary containers” including carryout bags. SB 1241 is titled “Relating to the Arizona health care cost containment system administration” but was amended to prohibit a municipality from requiring an owner of a business or commercial building to measure and report energy usage and also to prohibit a municipality from imposing a tax or fee on auxiliary containers.

SB 1241 was approved by the Arizona House in April 2015 and at that time Council Member Kuby was participating in study sessions with stakeholders  in Tempe and developed a proposed ordinance that would have prohibited retailers from providing single-use plastic bags and allowed for a minimum 10-cent charge for paper bags. Further discussion of Tempe’s proposed ordinance was sidelined by SB 1241’s prohibition. Read the rest of this entry »

Webinar now available: “Bag the Bag in Your Community”

The Center for a New American Dream‘s “Bag the Bag in Your Community” webinar is now available here.

On September 23, 2015, Center for a New American Dream presented a webinar about how to organize a campaign to eliminate plastic bags in communities across the country. The webinar revealed how to get started, how to build public support, and how to navigate the related legislative and legal issues—with a special look at successful initiatives in Washington, DC and Chicago, IL.

Guest Speakers:

Jordan ParkerBring Your Bag Chicago

Chris KiblerDepartment of Energy and the Environment, Washington, DC





“Bag the Bag in Your Community” Webinar featuring Jennie Romer from

“Bag the Bag in Your Community” Webinar
Center for a New American Dream
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT


Did you know that Americans use and throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year? That means that the 12 million barrels of oil required annually to make the bags is used once, then flushed into our oceans and landfills. (The Wall Street Journal)You can help make a difference in the way we use and dispose of plastic bags. On September 23 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, New Dream will present a webinar on how to organize a campaign to eliminate plastic bags in your community.

Read the rest of this entry »

BagItNYC Coalition Urges Mayor to Adopt Carryout Bag Bill By Earth Day

Last month, over 70 environmental and community organizations sent letters to the Mayor de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito urging them to pass NYC’s carryout bag bill (Int. No. 209-2014) by Earth Day.

Today marks two weeks before Earth Day (April 22nd) and coalition members have expanded their call with a petiton that echos the request for the Mayor and Speaker to work with the City Council to adopt the bill, which would require a 10 cents charge for all carryout bags, by Earth Day.

New Yorkers wanting to express their support can sign the petition in additon to signing a petiton by NYC coalition member group New York League of Coalition Voters and registering on the BagItNYC coalition web page.

Other coverage of the bill includes this The Story of Stuff Project summary and this article about’s interactive crowd-sourced Instagram map of plastic bag litter in NYC.
























Plastics Industry Groups Are Fighting to Preempt Local Plastic Bag Laws All Over the Country, The Industry Lost in Georgia Last Week

Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Missouri all have bills introduced this session that would preclude cities and local agencies from taking action on local issues – including plastic bag ordinances. This tactic of state law preemption to prevent local plastic bag ordinances is far from new.

In fact, in California, the main reason why cities ended up moving forward with bans on thin plastic bags (and charges for paper and reusable bags) rather than fees on all carryout bags is that preemption of local plastic bags fees (but not bans) was snuck into a 2006 statewide plastic bag recycling law (AB 2449, click here for the full story).

In Florida in 2008, a state law was adopted that required the Department of Environmental Protection to submit a report to the state Legislature regarding regulation of bags and no local government could enact any regulation on the use of disposable plastic bags until the Legislature acted on the report. The Retail Bags Report was submitted in 2010 and no action has been taken to date, which means that local bag laws are preempted in Florida.

In Illinois in 2012, a plastic bag ban preemption law passed both houses but was vetoed by the Governor only after Abby Goldberg, 13, penned a petition on that gathered 173,000 signatures.

Last week, on March 27, 2015, the Georgia House heard Senate Bill 139 and the bill was defeated by a solid 85 to 67 margin. The official bill summary reads:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 1 of Title 10 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to selling and other trade practices, so as to provide that any regulation regarding the use, disposition, or sale or any imposition of any prohibition, restriction, fee imposition, or taxation of auxiliary containers shall be done only by general law; to provide for legislative findings; to provide for a definition; to provide for related matters; to provide an effective date; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.

The Georgia vote is one small victory in the plastics industry’s (which is funded by the petroleum industry) fight to stop plastic bag laws. Preemption bills are happening elsewhere and are likely to spread but this win shows that grassroots advocates are prepared to stand up to the petroleum industry’s well-funded lobbying efforts.

The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson Sued By Grocer’s Industry Group Over Bag Ban, Court Opinion Expected Soon

The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson was sued in October 2014 over the plastic bag ban that they had adopted in June of that year. The main claim in the lawsuit relates to the Village banning plastic bags but not addressing paper bags, which the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, Inc. (FIA) claims requires full EIS review under New York’s State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) because they claim that an increase in the use of paper bags could have a greater negative impact on the environment.

All lawsuit documents have been filed and no hearing is scheduled. The Judge is expected to make a ruling based solely on the papers filed soon. Click here to view the The Village of Hastings-on-Hudson official lawsuit documents.

This lawsuit was expected and is very similar to tactics used by plastics industry and grocer groups in California (click here for a short history of what happened in California).

For a more detailed history of similar tactics used all over the US and how ordinance structures have evolved, see this law journal article.