BELMAR, NJ — Food and drink establishments in Belmar will need to ditch plastic foam containers and limit the use of plastic straws under an ordinance approved by the borough council.
The governing body on April 22 unanimously adopted a measure that prohibits the use of plastic foam products entirely, but allows for plastic straws upon customer request at businesses that sell food and drink items.
Enforcement will begin in November 2021. Businesses found in violation of the ordinance could face up a $2,500 fine for each occurrence, up to $10,000, according to the borough’s municipal code.
The 18-month grace period is intended to give businesses time to use up their current stock, according to Council President Thomas Brennan, a major proponent of the ban.
Nonplastic straws in all kinds of materials — paper, bamboo, bean husks, to name a few new altenatives — have been growing in popularity, he added.
Single-use plastic bags have been banned in all retail establishment since May 2019.
Belmar is among the increasing number of municipalities in New Jersey to prohibit the bags — and now containers and to a degree, straws — as a way to help reduce the amount of plastic debris that enters the ecosystem.
And in a shore community like Belmar, the potential for plastic bags winding up in the ocean, river and lakes that surround it grows dramatically when the population swells to some 50,000 on any given summer weekend. In fact, plastic is the most common type of trash littering Belmar beaches.
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