End plastic bag pollution in NJ
In a good faith effort, the NJ Legislature recently passed a bill aimed at reducing plastic pollution by leveraging a 5 cent fee on single use plastic and paper bags. The fee is meant to encourage switching to resuable bags. The bill, however, is one that the merchants and plastic industry backed to try to stop a stronger bill.
The bill that sits on Governor Murphy’s desk would prohibit municipalities from passing stronger restrictions including bans on plastic bags. It exempts slightly thicker plastic bags. Finally, the bill send 1 cent for every bag to merchants and 4 cents to the general fund rather than dedicated to reducing pollution. With some edits from Governor Murphy, this bill can go a long way towards combatting one of the most significant environmental and health issues of our generation.
The World Economic Forum published a study in 2016 that shows if we continue to use single use plastics (bags, bottles, straws, balloons, etc) at our current rate, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. That means we would be bequeathing to our children plastic oceans and rivers. Plastic is already making its way into our seafood and drinking water in microscopic form.
We need to take action now. Governor Murphy has amendments from environmental groups that would vastly improve the plastic bag bill. ANJEC, the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, is encouraging Governor Murphy to conditionally veto the bill so that it can be strengthen. We look forward to celebrating Governor Murphy’s actions to make NJ plastic free!
Jennifer M. Coffey
Executive Director, ANJEC