MILLBURN, NJ - At Tuesday night's township committee meeting, members of the public had their first opportunity to hear about a new plan being proposed by the Millburn Environmental Commission in regards to single-use plastic bags and other plastic implements, such as straws.

The measure follows efforts in other neighboring towns, including Maplewood and South Orange. As part of the proposal process, members of Millburn's Environmental Commission and Green Team were on hand to lay out the basis of their plan and to answer questions from the committee about the proposal being put forth for a new set of regulations.

As part of the plan, both organizations had held information and listening sessions with local residents and merchants over the past several months. Using that information, the group was able to offer some carve-outs to the plastic rule that they believed would be beneficial to business while still helping the environment.

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The following would take place under the plan if approved by the committee. Single-use plastic carryout bags would be prohibited. The following plastic bags would still be exempt from the list for now:

  • Bags for package bulk items
  • Bags that contain or wrap frozen food
  • Bags that contain or wrap flowers, potted plants or other items that may be damp
  • Bags that contain prepared food or baked goods and
  • Bags for pharmacy prescriptions

Additionally, the measure would not eliminate single-use straws and plastic bags but would allow residents to request a plastic one, and would put a  five-cent surcharge for a paper bag onto each carryout purchase.

After the presentation was complete, members of the township committee had the chance to ask questions of the presenters. Committeeman Sam Levy was the most active during the question period. Levy took the chance to play devil's advocate, asking a number of questions about the measure, and any potential flaws in the measure that he saw.

While Levy spoke during the majority of the time, committee members Tara Prupis and Jackie Leiberberg also ask questions. Cheryl Burstein was not present at the meeting.

Following the question and answer session, the committee commended the environmental commission for working on an environmental projected with such gusto, but to continue the discussion on the matter at subsequent meetings.