FANWOOD, NJ -- The Fanwood Council is doing some fact-finding before iniatiating more formal disccusions on whether the Borough should introduce an ordinance that would ban the use of plastic bags at retail establishments in Fanwood.

At its agenda meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3, Councilwoman Kathy Mithchell inquired whether Fanwood would follow the lead of Paramus in banning plastic bags.

"The consensus is a good idea and we should look at phasing it in," said Councilman Tom Kranz, who ran the meeting in the absense of Mayor Colleen Mahr. "Build in a phase-in deadline and maybe do it by the first of the year. I think it’s reasonable."

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The Council discussed having downtown redevelopment consultant Liz Jeffery speak to the retailers, including businesses that have takeout foods, to update them about the possible plastic bag ban. 

Councilwoman Erin McElroy Barker expressed some concerns.

"Why are we are picking this? What is the rationale for it," she asked. 

One reason is that plastic bags are among the least recyclable items.

"Plastic doesn’t break down for 1 million years. It winds up on the ocean floor. It simply doesn’t break down," Kranz explained. "Also, the plastic bags jam the recycling equipment used to process the typical curbside single-stream waste."

The discussion at meeting ended with Councilwoman Mitchell offering to gather ordinances from at least one other community that has banned plastic bags and Councilwoman McElroy Barker wanting to explore banning Styrofoam as well, which is part of the Paramus law.