WOODLAND PARK, NJ - The Borough Council on Aug. 14 introduced an ordinance that would prohibit local retail establishments from providing single-use plastic carry-out bags. If adopted at the next meeting, which is on Wednesday, Sept. 4, businesses will have six months to become compliant.

If passed, no retail establishment within the Borough shall provide any single-use plastic carry-out bags to any customer at the checkout/point of departure for the purpose of transporting products out of the business.

All retail establishments will have to make available to customers, for a fee, compliant bags -either recyclable paper bags or cloth reusable bags with handles or other washable fabric specifically designed for multiple use.

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Mayor Keith Kazmark said that it may sound a bit extreme, but this is a trend throughout the state. While the state has not enacted a ban, 25 other municipalities so far have adopted their own ban on single use plastic bags. He noted a video officials saw in Parsippany which showed dissections of deceased marine life which showed more plastic than anything else in their stomachs.

"We need to take action now. It’s having an adverse effect on the environment. You see bags around town, stuck in trees and in drains. These are bags that are never going to disintegrate in our lifetime," Kazmark said. "Environmentally this is the right thing to do."

The Borough will assist retail establishments by referring them to sources of appropriate information and to associations, unions or other organizations that have educational materials concerning the benefits of reusable bags rather than recyclable paper carry-out bags.

Following the six month implementation time, any establishment that violates or fails to comply with the ordinance, after an initial written warning notice, will be fined. The following penalties shall be imposed: a fine not exceeding $100 for the first violation after the written warning notice is given; a fine not exceeding $200 for the second violation after the written warning notice is given; and a fine not exceeding $500 for the third and any subsequent violations after the written warning notice is given.