Push to ban plastic bags in NJ proceeds after Assembly fails to act

David Madden
January 18, 2020 - 4:00 am
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TRENTON, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Proponents for a ban of single-use plastic and paper bags in New Jersey insist they are undaunted after legislators failed to pass a bill. Now, the effort must start all over again. 

State senators barely passed the plan in the waning hours of a lame-duck session, but the state Assembly never voted.

“The lobbyists from the plastics industry and the oil industry and the paper industry weighed in and got the speaker not to post the bill,” said Jeff Tittel, senior chapter director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, an environmental grassroots organization.

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Leadership and the governor reportedly couldn’t agree on last-minute amendments to the package. But the measure is being reintroduced in the Legislature. They’ll have to go through the entire process again — something supporters of the ban are not thrilled about. 

But Tittel said their efforts on the local level will go on.

“In New Jersey, 38 towns already have plastic banned bags in effect,” he said. “Eighteen others have already passed the ordinances that are going into effect, and dozens of other towns are working on ordinances as we speak.”

Groups like Tittel’s hopes to increase public pressure to ban not just those bags, but plastic straws and Styrofoam containers across New Jersey — as is the case in eight other states.