Secaucus became the fourth municipality in Hudson County to ban single-use plastic bags on Tuesday, joining Jersey City, Bayonne and Hoboken.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
The Secaucus Town Council okayed an ordinance banning single-use plastic carry out bags from all local service establishments at last night’s meeting by a vote of 5-1(1).
2nd Ward Councilman James Clancy, who could not immediately be reached for comment, voted no on the ordinance, while 3rd Ward Councilman William McKeever was absent.
Effective February 1st, no food, restaurant or service establishment will be allowed to provide plastic bags to any customer “in order to address a significant global problem relating to the production and use of single-use plastic carryout bags and the adverse effects emanating directly therefrom,” the ordinance says.
In particular, Mayor Michael Gonnelli said the pollution from plastic bags was becoming a major environmental issue in Secaucus.
“One of the big reasons we passed this is because we go out and do clean ups all the time and all we pick up is plastic bags,” Gonnelli told HCV over the phone.
“They get into the waterways, the creeks, the ditches, and they’re really a nuisance. We see it on a local level.”
The ban allows exceptions for bags to carry produce, meat or other non-prepackaged foods – as well as plastic bags for laundry and dry cleaning, pet waste, garbage bags, prescription drug bags and newspaper bags.
Secaucus is now the fourth Hudson County municipality to institute such a ban. Jersey City and Hoboken both passed similar ordinances in 2018, while the Bayonne City Council passed its own ban in June of this year.
Jersey City’s ban went into effect on June 28, while Hoboken recently passed an additional ordinance that banned styrofoam and bolstered its plastic bag legislation by also prohibiting the use of reusable plastic bags available for purchase at larger retail stores.
Additionally, Secaucus’ ordinance allows for establishments to sell reusable bags or single-use paper bags.
The town is part of a growing number of municipalities throughout the state that have passed plastic bag regulations that recently includes Belmar, Point Pleasant and Teaneck.
In 2018, state legislators passed a bill that would force customers to pay 5 cents for each plastic bag, but it was vetoed by Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who felt the bill did not go far enough to alleviate environmental concerns.
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