Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect June 1 in Harvey Cedars

May 23, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Beginning Friday, June 1, Harvey Cedars businesses are prohibited from distributing single-use plastic carryout bags, according to an ordinance adopted by the borough commission.

“We thought that would give businesses adequate time to prepare,” said Diana Dale, borough clerk. “Patrons will have to bring their own reusable bags to stores in the town, or pay a fee for recycled paper bags.”

Dale said the ordinance is patterned after a measure adopted last year by Long Beach Township. The ordinance says the municipality “believes it has a duty to investigate and implement any and all necessary and proper steps to protect the environment and the public health, welfare and safety.”

“Plastic bags are not biodegradable,” said Mayor Jonathan Oldham. “They stick around forever.”

Deputy Mayor Judy Gerkens said that prior to adopting the ordinance at a Feb. 2 meeting, officials sent copies of the ordinance to local businesses.

“We wanted their feedback,” said Gerkens. “I would think if businesses had a problem, we would have heard about it, but we got little response.”

Dale said residents can pick up a reusable shopping bags at borough hall.

“They’ll receive one if they come in to purchase beach badges.”

Albert Holl, co-owner of Neptune Market, said borough residents seem to favor the ban.

“We’ll see if that changes once the ban goes into effect,” he said. “I think it’s going to work and I understand this is important for a shore community. It will also get people into using reusable bags when they go shopping.”

Harvey Cedars resident Mary Wilding applauded the borough’s move, noting that she and other members of the Garden Club of Long Beach Island have been speaking to various local officials on the issue during the year.

Wilding said her views were crystallized when she saw the 2016 documentary “A Plastic Ocean,” which focuses on the plastic pollution of Earth’s oceans.

She said that according to the film, plastic production in America was estimated to be more than 300 million tons in 2015. By 2025, there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish.

“This encompasses not just bags, bottles and fishing nets, but also micro-plastics. According to the film, the micro-particles of plastic, some of which carry toxins, are ingested by marine life, and that marine life is eventually consumed by us,” she said.

— Eric Englund


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