After nearly a year, copious community input and multiple revisions, the township of Maplewood became the latest in a growing number of towns across the county to enact a ban on single-use plastic bags.
“It’s been a long road,” said Tracy Woods of the Maplewood Green Team.
The hearing and vote followed months of discussion on the topic — including abandoning a previous ordinance that would have imposed fees on plastic bags. (Read Village Green’s coverage here and here and here.)
Ordinance #2946-19 now specifies that, effective July 1, 2019, “single use plastic carry-out bags” will be prohibited for use by retail establishments in the Township of Maplewood. According to the language of the ordinance, several types of plastic bags are exempt, including those used for meat, fish or frozen foods, unwrapped prepared foods and baked goods, among others.
The ordinance also mandates a 5 cent fee for paper bags, effective September 1, 2019. Retailers have the option to provide customers with free, compostable bags. Any resident who identifies him/herself as low-income and senior may be provided a paper bag at no charge.
Retailers found in violation of the ordinance are subject to financial penalties.
See the full ordinance here:
Woods said the Green Team will work with the township on education and outreach about the ordinance. The Green Team also will help stores produce reusable bags with their logos.
Mayor Victor DeLuca said he and Woods met with representatives from Kings, Wawa, QuickChek and Extra Supermarket and “they are all on board.”
DeLuca also noted that there has recently been movement in the NJ State Legislature for an even more stringent statewide ban on plastic as well as paper bags: “We’ll see what happens with that, if that passes that will be great. But in the mean time we will move forward.”
The ordinance passed 5-0, to hearty applause from the audience. “that doesn’t happen very often,” joked Nancy Adams.