Government Maplewood

Maplewood Paper Bag Fee Goes Into Effect September 1

A 5-cent charge on paper bags at point of purchase will go into effect for consumers at Maplewood retailers on September 1, 2019. The fee is part of an ordinance that banned the use of plastic bags at point of purchase starting July 1, 2019. The Township is encouraging shoppers to avoid the fee by bringing their own reusable bags to carry purchases.

In May, the Township of Maplewood joined a growing number of towns across the county to enact a ban on single-use plastic bags. South Orange has since passed its own plastic bag ban; however, the South Orange ordinance does not take effect until January 1, 2020.

The hearing and vote on the Maplewood ordinance 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 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. (Some retailers applied for extensions.)

The ordinance also mandates the 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:

Download (PDF, 524KB)

At the time of the ordinance’s passage, Mayor Victor DeLuca 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 meantime. we will move forward.”

See answers to FAQs about the ordinance here. 

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