Government Maplewood

UPDATE: Maplewood Leaders to Introduce New Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance Allowing for ‘Compostable’ Bags

UPDATE, April 2, 10:30 p.m.: the Maplewood TC unanimously passed the re-introduced revised plastic bag ban ordinance. They will hold a final vote on May 7.

On April 2, the Maplewood Township Committee plans to re-introduce an ordinance that would ban plastic bags used for carry-out purchases; however, the ordinance has undergone several changes from the last version and now includes a new allowance for compostable plastic bags.

The TC  was previously set to vote on the ordinance at its March 5 meeting. However, after hearing from local business owners and others concerned about inconsistencies and other issues with the ordinance, the Township Committee tabled the ordinance. Township Committee members held a public discussion on March 19 and have revised the ordinance. They hope to hold a final vote on the revised ordinance on May 7.

What’s changed?

According to Township Committeeman Dean Dafis (also see the revised ordinance attached below):

  • The ordinance incorporates residents’ concerns regarding previous inconsistencies between treatment of plastic bags over paper bags. Although plastic bags for carry-out would continue to be banned and consumers will pay a fee (5 cents) for carry-out paper bags, paper bags now have exemptions similar to plastic (i.e., for take-out food items from a restaurant, pharmacy medicine bags, to take home uneaten food from a restaurant, etc.).
  • Implementation has been pushed back to allow for more on-the-ground consumer and merchant education (July 1 for the plastic carry-out ban; September 1 for the imposition of the paper carry-out bag fee), and
  • Most notably, compostable bags have been added to the ordinance with specification for certifying the store/bags with the Township.

The Township Committee plans to follow the re-introduction of the ordinance on April 2 with a public hearing and vote on May 7. The ordinance would take effect July 1 for the plastic bag ban and September 1 for the 5 cent charge on paper bags.

The re-introduction follows on months of discussion on the topic — including abandoning a previous ordinance from 2018 that would have imposed fees on plastic bags. (Read Village Green’s coverage on that ordinance here and here and here.)

South Orange Township has also introduced an ordinance to ban the use of carry-out plastic bags, limit the use of carry-out paper bags, and encourage the use of reusable bags. The South Orange Board of Trustees will vote on its ordinance on April 22. Read about it here. 

From Maplewood Township via email on March 27:

Proposed Plastic Bag Ordinance #2946-19

Please take notice that a proposed ordinance to prohibit the use of plastic bags and regulate the use of paper bags by retail establishments within the Township of Maplewood will be further discussed by the Township Committee at their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Maplewood Municipal Building, 574 Valley Street, Maplewood, New Jersey. Please take further notice there will be a final public hearing and vote on May 7, 2019.

This meeting is an Open Public Meeting.

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