Long Beach Township Adopts Plastic Bag Ban for Municipal Stores

Nov 08, 2017
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners has adopted an ordinance to prohibit businesses in the municipality from distributing single-use plastic carryout bags. The bag ban will take effect in approximately six months, according to Mayor Joseph Mancini. Patrons will have to bring their own reusable bags to stores in the township, or pay a fee for recycled paper bags.

As Ordinance 17-31C reads, the municipality “believes it has a duty to investigate and implement any and all necessary and proper steps the township can take to protect the environment and the public health, welfare and safety.”

“This is a good thing,” Mancini said at Monday’s meeting. “We won’t have all those plastic bags flying around the neighborhood anymore.”

Prior to the start of the meeting, a group of local residents in the audience discussed the fact that plastic bag bans have been enacted, and successful, in various cities in the U.S. as well as, for many years now, overseas. They were thrilled that the township approved the measure Monday, with one exclaiming, “That’s great!” in response.

Mary Wilding of Harvey Cedars asked the board for a copy of the ordinance to show the governing body in her borough.

At a previous public hearing on the initiative, a number of individuals also spoke in favor of banning plastic bags. No one voiced opposition to the restriction.

Acme Market, in the township’s Beach Haven Park section, is the largest business in the municipality that will be affected by the sanction. Dana Ward, Acme’s senior communications coordinator, said Monday, “While Acme is not an advocate of this ban, we will comply with all applicable ordinances of Long Beach Township.

“We look forward to continuing, as always, to be an active participant in the community and supporting LBI through our philanthropic efforts,” she added.

The township ordinance notes that, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as many as one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. It’s estimated that less than 5 percent of that plastic is recycled.

“It is beyond dispute,” the measure reads, “that the use of single-use plastic carryout bags has a severe and negative environmental impact on the local and global environment as a result of the greenhouse gas emissions emitted to produce such bags, the land-based and ocean-based pollution created, the hazards posed to wildlife, the blocking of storm drains by plastic, the hazards posed to sources of water for humans, and the negative impact on the ecosystem and food chain as a whole.”

“This is great news for our island and the local environment,” Alliance for a Living Ocean Executive Director Kyle Gronostajski said of the ban on Tuesday. “Single-use plastic bags are not necessary and are certainly an item we can live without. Bringing your own bag is simple enough to do and can have real impacts on our beautiful surrounding beaches and waterways.

“Hopefully this is the beginning of meaningful legislation not only for our Island, but also statewide and someday further up the ladder. We also hope that everyone realizes plastic bags are just one of the commonly encountered single-use plastics. We encourage all businesses and consumers to reconsider their daily habits. Straws; coffee cups and lids; take-out containers, especially styrofoam; single-use plastic water bottles and many more (disposable items) are all still prevalent and make up a significant portion of our beach cleanup debris.”

Gronostajski encourages individuals to “take steps to eliminate these items from your daily life, and demand better options at the businesses you frequent. If you are a business that would like to know more about steps you can take, please contact us” at 609-494-7800 or livingoceanalo@gmail.com.

— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch



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