NEWARK, NJ - The city is looking to ban plastic bags and penalize businesses up to $1,000 if offered to customers.
The new measure is on the agenda for city council's Tuesday meeting and would begin fines at $250 dollars each day a business violates the ordinance. It requires all retail establishments - like restaurants, clothing stores or supermarkets - to sell or provide customers with only reusable or recyclable bags.
More and more states are banning single-use plastic bags, including California and New York. Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a ban last year, but only because it wasn't strict enough. Municipalities, like Jersey City and Hoboken, have passed local bans.
The new rule in Newark would not, however, apply to laundry or dry-cleaning bags, newspaper bags, or bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meat or fish. Items required to be sold or delivered in plastic bags to meet state and federal food safety or disposal laws would be exempt from the local law.
Single-use checkout bags create litter problems and negatively impact the environment, the ordinance says.
The ordinance strictly defines reusable bags as ones that have "at least 2.25 mils in thickness" with a minimum lifetime capability of 125 or more uses. It must also be able to carry at least 22 pounds over a distance of at least 175 feet and be capable of being washed multiple times.
Recyclable paper bags must contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled content, the ordinance states.
The ordinance would take effect six months following its possible passage.
The measure will be introduced as a communications ordinance. Such measures usually go through additional readings before being fully approved.
The council will meet in the city hall chambers Tuesday at 10 a.m.