TRENTON, NJ - The state assembly is considering legislation requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to establish a recycling program for plastic bags and plastic film.

“We know how bad plastic bags are for the environment” said Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney of Wyckoff (R-Bergen) who introduced the bill. “They constantly litter highways, parks and street corners, clog sewage systems, and easily damage marine and wildlife."

Rooney’s bill (A4349) requires the department to develop a program for stores and municipal recycling centers to collect and recycle plastic bags and film, such as bread and produce bags, food storage bags, and paper towel and bathroom tissue wrappings.  

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"It's not that used plastic bags, wraps and film can't be recycled, they just need to be recycled differently," Rooney said.

The department will also develop an education program about the dangers of plastics, how people can reduce their use, and where items can be taken to be recycled. The new program will have no additional cost to the state or local taxpayers. 

"Instead of turning to another new, useless tax, it's time we implement real changes to help the environment and residents of New Jersey,” Rooney said.