SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - Soon the village could be the next New Jersey municipality that doesn't allow plastic bags to be carried out of retail stores.
The Village Board of Trustrees introduced an ordinance on Monday night that if approved would ban plastic carry-out bags in retail stores and charge a fee for paper bags.
Trustees Walter Clarke, Donna Coallier, Summer Jones and Bob Zuckerman voted in favor of introducing the ordinance and rejecting a similar ordinance that was introduced during a prior meeting. Trustees Karen Hartshorn Hilton and Stephen Schnall were absent from Monday's meeting. Village President Sheena Collum was also absent from Monday's meeting.
The ordinance introduction comes months after the board drafted the original proposal, but then amended it in response to feedback it received from local business owners and residents. Clarke explained that a new ordinance was introduced as a recommendation by the board's legal counsel because of the lengthly amount of time in between when the previous ordinance was introduced and now.
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Under the new ordinance, only the village's code enforcement would enforce the regulations and a 5 cent charge has been added onto paper bags that are used for takeout and delivery orders at restaurants.
"Plastic bags will only be allowed if there is a dampness issue," explained Clarke.
Soup is an example of a wet food item where a plastic bag may be given out.
The board is scheduled to vote on the new ordinance on July 8. If approved, it will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Clarke said if the law is approved, the Village of South Orange will encourage people to start using reusable bags before then.
"We want to put reusuable bags in the hands of shoppers," Clarke said.