MAPLEWOOD, NJ - After a lengthy discussion at the Sept. 4 meeting of the Maplewood Township Committee, the members voted not to institute a fee of ten cents (three cents which would have gone to the store, and seven cents to the Township) for the use of disposable “checkout bags," which would have included both paper and plastic bags in an effort to reduce single-use paper and plastic checkout bags by retail establishments in the Township of Maplewood.
During the public comment, speakers argued both in support of and against the ordinance, citing environmental concerns and issues with the tax inversely impacting lower income and senior citizens on fixed incomes. Other concerns included that retail establishments in Maplewood would be at a competitive disadvantage with the bag tag, which could lead to increased prices to those shopping in town.
The Committee listened to all the comments, and then discussed among themselves, concluding that if the goal is to eliminate the use of disposable bags, the law as written is flawed at achieving that objective. The committee members voted 5-0 against the ordinance, and asked the township attorney to provide a revised ordinance that would achieve a reduction in single-use bags.