New Jersey considers banning plastic bags, straws, Styrofoam

New Jersey Sierra Club director says such a ban in California has had significant impact.

Multiple plastic shopping bags on table top (Big Stock)

Multiple plastic shopping bags on table top (Big Stock)

With Gov. Phil Murphy’s expected veto of a measure to impose a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic and paper bags, New Jersey lawmakers will consider another bill calling for a ban on plastic bags, straws, and Styrofoam containers.

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel, one of the major supporters of an all-out plastics ban, said such a ban in California has had a significant impact.

“Los Angeles County, which has more people than New Jersey, put in a ban … a 94 percent reduction in plastic bag uses,” he said. “When Contra Costa County put in a ban, they saw an 89 percent decrease in plastic bags found in storm drains and a more than 60 percent decrease in bags found in streams.”

A ban on plastic bags should be accompanied by a strategy to deal with disposable paper bags, said Rocco D’Antonio, a managing member of the food waste recycling company Organic Diversion.

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“Paper bags cost three to four times more than plastic and would create a supply and demand imbalance, which has happened across the country,” he said. “With various ordinances, that price discrepancy goes up even higher. Ultimately, somebody has to pay for that.”

Environmental groups are urging that legislation to ban plastic bags in New Jersey also levy a fee on paper bags to encourage shoppers to switch to reusable ones.

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