Long Beach Township to Hold Public Hearing on Plastic Bag Ban Proposal Oct. 2

Sep 20, 2017

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing at its next meeting – 4 p.m. on Oct. 2 – on its proposal to prohibit businesses in the municipality from distributing single-use plastic carryout bags. Anyone with questions or comments is encouraged to attend the meeting.

As Ordinance 17-31C reads, “The Board of Commissioners of the Township of Long Beach 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.”

“Single-use plastic bags are just out of control,” Mayor Joseph Mancini had remarked at a previous meeting. “They’re on the water; they’re blowing by on the beach; they’re everywhere.

“I think it’s time” to take action to reduce the number of plastic bags in the waste stream and the environment, and to promote reusable bags for shopping.

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, and it’s estimated that less than 5 percent of that plastic is recycled.

“It is beyond dispute 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,” the ordinance reads.

Mancini envisions a six-month phase-in of the bag ban if the board of commissioners adopts the measure. Patrons would then be tasked with bringing their own reusable bags to the stores – as more and more individuals already do now, at grocery stores in particular – or they would have to pay a fee for recycled paper bags.

Alliance for a Living Ocean Executive Director Kyle Gronostajski was excited to hear the township had introduced an ordinance to help reduce the amount of plastic bags in the waste stream, and in the environment.

“We welcome all towns to do the same, and also are happy to talk with any businesses looking to eliminate single-use plastics from their regular usage,” he stated after the proposal was introduced this summer. “Straws, bags, cups and takeout containers all contribute to plastic debris we regularly find during our beach cleanups.” —J.K.-H.

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