VERONA, NJ - For many towns, New Year’s Day meant no new bags. Multiple plastic bag bans passed during 2019 finally went into effect for towns such as Paramus, Ridgewood, and South Orange.
It may not be long before Verona and Cedar Grove follow suit. A statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, paper bags, Styrofoam food containers and plastic straws has been moving through the State Legislature. The bill is still being debated.
The statewide bill is particularly firm. Under the bill (in its current form) most plastic and paper bags will be banned. As early as 2021, all retail stores, restaurants, convenience stores, and other food businesses would be barred from giving customers carryout bags.
Certain plastic bags would still be allowed, such as small bags for prepared food, such as deli meat, those that hold uncooked meat, fish or poultry, those that contain live animals from pet stores and newspaper and dry cleaning bags.
Even if the ban does not pass the state legislature, residents should expect a possible crack down on plastic bag usage. Verona was looking to vote on an ordinance for banning plastic bags, but it was tabled while the state decides on the wider law.
“In September, the Council heard a presentation from Steve Neale, Director of Administration and Economic Development, about the environmental impact of single-use plastic bags and some recommendations for a local ordinance to prohibit them,” said Christine McGrath, town council member. “Since then, the Township collected data from Planet Civic, and new engagement tool, on what residents thought about a proposed ban. If the state legislature does not pass a ban on certain single-use plastic bags, I fully expect that the Town Council will be updated on the feedback the township received from the public and the business community on a proposed ban, so that we can move forward with our own ordinance.”