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NJ Sierra Club: Jersey City Passes Plastic Bag Ban & Polystyrene Ban

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JERSEY CITY NJ (June 28, 2018)(CNBNewsnet)--Last night, the Jersey City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will ban single use plastics, and non-degradable packaging, namely, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride at food establishments. It prohibits retail establishments from providing any single-use, disposable plastic carryout bags to a customer at the check stand, cash register, point of sale, or other point of departure for the purpose of transporting products or goods out of the business or store. Instead the ordinance permits retail establishments to only provide only reusable bags and/or recyclable paper carryout bags.  The ordinance shall take effect 12 months after final adoption. Important they passed it before fee bill gets passed -


“In a win for the environment, Jersey City Council has passed an ordinance that will ban single use plastic bags and polystyrene. It is important that Jersey City passed this ordinance before the plastic bag fee bill could be signed by Governor Murphy. Plastic is a now a menace to the environment and it critcal that waterfront cities like Jersey City are taking steps to reduce their plastic footprint. It is a threat to our waterways and wildlife and a full ban will go a long way in protecting our environment, reducing fossil fuel use and making our state cleaner,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “We thank the Jersey City Council and Mayor Fulop for supporting and passing this plastic bag and polystyrene ban.”


Hoboken, Jersey City, the Borough of Longport, and Point Pleasant Beach have now passed ordinances that will ban plastic bags. On a state level, the Senate and Assembly recently passed S2600 (Ruiz) /A3267 (Huttle). The bill imposes a 5-cent fee on single-use carry out bags. The Sierra Club believes that this method to deal with plastic bags might actually make the problem worse. Not only should there be a full ban on plastic bags, but this bill undermines the ability of local municipalities to create stricter bag regulations and bans. 


“Towns and cities in New Jersey are finally gaining momentum towards reducing their plastic but the Legislature passed a plastic bag fee bill that would undermine those efforts.  There is a preemption in the bill which blocks or bans towns with stronger ordinances on bans. The bill usurps efforts by municipalities like who want to implement higher fees or create complete bans, ”said Tittel. “There is already language in the Budget from the Plastic Fee Bill even before it is passed. This is not about plastic bags or lead, it is a scam to grab money for the budget.”


Plastic has become a bigger and bigger problem that affects our environment. It’s not just in the Pacific, its also here in New Jersey. Rutgers scientists recently found densities of about 28,000 to more than 3 million plastic particles per square kilometer in the Passaic and Raritan River. Last year, beach sweeps in New Jersey have found that more than 80% of their trash is plastic. What is even worse is that there has been a 59% increase in plastic straws found on beaches from these sweeps.


“We need Governor Murphy to veto this A3267 and instead support a statewide ban on single use plastics so we can reduce the use of plastics in environment,

especially plastic bags and plastic straws. We also need Governor Murphy to come up with a better recycling program. Plastic bags are made from natural gas which means more fossil fuel use, more pipelines, and more fracking. Every year we seem to be recycling less but there is more trash along our roadways and in our streams,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “Since we have become a use once and throwaway society New Jersey needs to start looking into ways to combat this plastic pollution and improve our recycling programs.”