N.J. bill encourages use of reusable shopping bags

    Legislation encouraging customers in New Jersey to carry reusable shopping bags and forcing larger retailers to slash distribution of plastic bags gets its first hearing Monday.

    The Senate bill requires retailers to charge 15 cents for each single-use plastic or paper bag they give out.

    It also requires retailers with more than 1,000 feet of space to reduce the number of single-use bags they distribute by 75 percent.


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    The proposal requires retailers to sell reusable bags and switch to compostable plastic or recyclable paper bags.

    Supporters say the production of plastic and paper bags in the U.S. uses 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees a year.

    The bill will be heard by the Senate Environmental Committee.

    A similar bill stalled during the prior session.

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