The Union County Board of Commissioners encourages Union County residents to help keep County parks free of litter, by reducing their use of single-use plastic bags and other disposable plastic items.
“Spring is in sight and visitors will be returning to the County parks, and we are asking everyone to pitch in and help preserve the environment in our green spaces. Plastic bags and straws are the most significant source of ocean pollution, so taking steps to diminish litter has a positive impact on our wildlife habitats and our waterways,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Alexander Mirabella. .
Visitors to Union County parks are encouraged to use sturdy tote bags or backpacks to carry picnic items and other gear, instead of relying on single-use plastic bags. Litter often happens accidently when plastic bags or bottles are left behind, so bringing reusable totes and water bottles is a win-win for everyone.
Last year the New Jersey State Legislature passed a ban on single-use paper and plastic grocery bags that goes into effect in May of 2022. Union County residents can plan ahead by making the switch to reusable tote bags now.
Single-use plastic bags easily become windblown and can entangle fish, birds, and other wildlife in local parks. They can also pollute soil when they degrade into micro-particles.
When blown into local waterways, plastic bags can travel to the ocean and create additional hazards:
- Up to 80 percent of ocean plastic pollution enters the ocean from land.
- At least 267 different species have been impacted by ocean plastic pollution.
- 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags every year.
- One in three leatherback sea turtles have been found with plastic in their stomachs.
- Plastic bags degrade into micro plastic particles that continue to pollute.
- The average family in the U.S. takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.
- An average only 15 of every 1,500 plastic bags are recycled in the U.S.
For more information about plastic waste, visit the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Green Knight Newsletter Blog on Tumblr.
Information on all countywide recycling programs hosted by the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning is available at ucnj.org/recycling.
For quick links to all environmental programs and activities in Union County, visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.
For more information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Drive-Through Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit walk-up sites, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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