Business Government Maplewood

Maplewood Eases Into Plastic Bag Ban as Some Retailers Take Extension

“I got my free bag at the train station just now. Thanks Mayor DeLuca!” wrote Katy Chapman on Facebook.

Maplewood’s ban on plastic bags for point of purchase retail use began on Monday, July 1 — but not everyone in town was participating just yet.

The Township allowed retailers to file extensions if they needed time to comply. Two retailers that did so were Kings Supermarket on Maplewood Avenue and CVS on Valley Street.

Although Kings clearly was getting ready — with its reusable bags and paper bags prominently displayed — a cashier told Village Green that the extension should last about two weeks, until the store’s current supply of plastic bags runs out. At CVS, a floor manager said that the store manager would be returning on Wednesday and could answer questions at that time.

Meanwhile, members of the Maplewood Township Committee were on hand at the Maplewood Train Station on Monday night handing out free, “I Heart Maplewood” reusable bags to appreciative commuters.

On July 2, the Township sent another public service announcement via email about the ban:

Prohibition of Single Use Plastic Bags at Retail Establishments: Frequently Asked Questions

Starting on July 1, 2019 single use plastic check out bags will be prohibited at all retail establishments within the Township of Maplewood.

Below are a list of frequently asked questions we have received from retailers and stakeholders regarding Ordinance #2946-19:

What counts as a check-out bag? Bags given to the customer at the point of sale, product bags used move items to the check-out area are not check-out bags.

What if dampness issues make the use of paper bags impractical? Products where dampness is an issue are exempted from the plastic bag prohibition.

When does the paper check-out bag fee go into effect? September 1st, 2019

Where does the 5 cents fee for paper check-out bags go? 
The fee is kept by the store to offset the cost of the paper bags.

How is the paper check-out bag fee collected? Are the merchants supposed to document the bag purchase somehow?

The merchant collects the fee at the point of sale. The fee must appear on the receipt for the purchase. 

What about bags that come into direct contact with food? If food is in direct contact with a paper bag, there is no charge for the paper bag.

Is there a fee for paper gift bags? Yes, the ordinance does not exempt gift bags.

Are seniors and recipients of public assistance exempt from the paper bag fee?  Do they need to show ID?  Seniors and recipients of public assistance are exempt, no ID is required.

What should I do if I have a large supply of plastic check-out bags already purchased for use in my store?  Contact the Director of Community Development for a temporary exemption. They can be reached at 973-762-8120 Ext. 3400 (See attached application)

What does a store need to do to use compostable check-out bags? 
A retail establishment providing compostable check-out bags will need to comply with the guidelines for compostable check-out bags as set forth in the ordinance:

Compostable plastic bags shall meet current American Society for Testing & Materials  (ASTM) D6400 Standard Specifications for compostability and be labeled: (1) With the Biodegradable Product Institute (“BPI”) logo as meeting the ASTM standard for compostability and (2) With the word “Compostable” on the bag in lettering that is readily and easily identifiable.

A retail establishment providing compostable bags shall operate an at-store recycling program so that customers may return the compostable bags. Such program shall, at a minimum, include at least one accessible and highly visible compostable bag collection box and signs at each register informing customers that compostable bags should be returned to the store and not placed in household recycling or compost piles.

A retail establishment providing compostable bags shall provide the Director of the Department of Community Development with a signed agreement with an authorized compostable recycling facility to accept the compostable bags collected at the retail establishment.

Plastic Bag Ordinance

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