MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The Maplewood Township Committee had scheduled the second reading and final passage of the ordinance banning the use of plastic take-out bags, effective June 1, and the requirement for merchants to charge five cents per paper bag, effective Aug. 1.
During the public comment period about a dozen people spoke, several favoring the ordinance as written, and others asking questions and explaining the hardship that would be imposed on their businesses. Others discussed incongruities they thought were present in the ordinance as currently written.
The most common issue among the speakers was the requirement to collect five cents for each paper bag used for carry out – both for purchases, and also for take out of a partial meal from a restaurant after the bill had been settled.
Albert Mendez, Managing Partner of Extra Supermarket on Irvington Avenue which is just two blocks from the Newark line, explained that his customers shop and do not eat out, cooking all their meals at home. "The five cents per bag, and I have many clients that purchase as many as 30 bags of food at a time, would drive them to shop two blocks away in Newark where that doesn’t exist," said Mendez.
After public comment the Township Committee moved and seconded the ordinance, and after discussion decided to table it for further review at the May 19 meeting, with a plan to vote on it at the May 7 meeting, with amendments to address the many issues raised.