You won’t be finding plastic straws or styrofoam take-out containers in one Jersey Shore town.
Monmouth Beach has adopted an ordinance that prohibits plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam containers beginning on June 1. Businesses violating the ban will face a fine.
It’s the “most comprehensive” plastic ban in the country, according to the environmental organization Clean Ocean Action.
The northern Monmouth County borough’s regulation states it is necessary to “address a significant global problem” relating to single-use plastics and foam containers.
The goal is to “incentivize” the use of reusable bags and ultimately “protect the environment, wildlife, and the public health, welfare, and safety,” the ordinance states.
But it allows bait and tackle stores to provide single-use, plastic carryout bags.
Mayor Sue Howard says her goal was to minimize refuse in the borough by passing the measure prior to the summer season.
“Living in Monmouth beach or any shore town and really any town in our country whether you’re in the woods or on the beach; you know the value of our environment,” she told Fios 1 News. “We need to protect it and I think that’s what makes it easier when people really do love where they live, love their environment and want to see it be better, not worse.”
The Monmouth Beach ordinance is the latest in a string of similar regulations at the Jersey Shore, including in Long Beach Township, Longport, and Point Pleasant Beach.
Disposable plastics continue to be the most commonly found item on New Jersey beaches. In 2017, they represented the majority of the total waste found during Clean Ocean Action’s beach sweep events.
According to the Surfrider Foundation, an international environmental organization that has sparked a movement to encourage more bars and restaurants to use less plastic, more than 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are floating in the world’s oceans.