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"The City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring large stores and retail chains to collect and recycle plastic bags they give to shoppers. New York is by far the largest American city to enact so broad a measure to limit the environmental impact of the bags. Altogether, each year the country is estimated to use 86 billion bags, which end up blowing down city streets, or tangled in the stomachs of whales and sea turtles, or buried in landfills where, environmental organizations say, they persist for as long as 1,000 years." [NY Times]