Jersey City ordinance banning commercial, retail use of plastic bags now in effect

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Commonly referred to as the plastic bag ban, the Jersey City ordinance prohibiting the use of commercial and retails plastic bags went into effect yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the City of Jersey City.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The goal is not to punish retailers but to create a behavior change where residents start bringing their own reusable bags,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement.

“It’s not uncommon to be anywhere in the state and see plastic bags blowing around, polluting our parks and clogging sewage drains. This ordinance looks to make it a habit for shoppers to bring their reusable bags when shopping, and steer them away from the single-use plastic bags.”

To offset the spread of plastic bags in the streets and waterways, Ordinance 18-065 mandates businesses use re-useable and durable carryout bags with handles that customers can continue to deploy at merchant locations for up to 125 or more occasions.

Some retailers may choose to continue to provide reusable plastic bags that meet the requirements of the ordinance.

Since the Ordinance was unanimously approved by the city council on June 27th 2018, a yearlong effort was launched to educate and increase awareness on the bag ban.

The city worked with the community to host events and programming designed to increase awareness, which included partnerships with the Board of Education and Goldman Sachs hosting two recent events, the sustainability STEAM bag challenge and Bagapalooza.

This initiative is part of a larger effort to make Jersey City more environmentally sustainable. The city has been a certified “Sustainable Jersey” community since 2011.

In recent years, Jersey City has led the state on many environmental issues, including electrifying the City fleet, installing solar panels on municipal buildings, utilizing green infrastructure to mitigate storm water runoff, and committing to tackle climate change.

In 2018, Jersey City created an Office of Sustainability to oversee the City’s sustainability efforts.

“For this year’s theme of sustainable neighborhoods we we’ve been focusing on ways to involve residents in making positive environmental changes within their own neighborhoods,” added Jersey City’s Office of Sustainability Director Katherine Lawrence.

“One such way residents can make an impact is through reducing their use of single-use items such as plastic bags.”

The single-use bag ban applies to any bag provided by retail establishments at point of sale. Bags provided to customers must either be reusable or 100 percent recyclable paper bags that are made from at least 40 percent post-consumer recycled content.

Violations of this new ordinance can lead to a minimum fine of $100 per infraction.

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