The Natural Resources Committee submitted a resolution to the Monroe Township Environmental Commission at their June 5th meeting, recommending an ordinance be put forth to the Township Council that bans single-use plastic bags and promotes the use of reusable bags in Monroe Township.
We believe that plastics are a major threat to our food and drinking water supplies. There are many facts that confirm the need to act quickly. On average, one person uses 500 single-use disposable bags per year, 4 billion single-use shopping bags are used annually in New Jersey and 102 billion are used nationwide. It is beyond dispute that the use of single-use plastic carryout bags has a severe and negative 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 hazards posed to sources of water for humans, and the negative impact on the ecosystem and food chain as a whole.
Plastic in our environment is not only a major threat to our food and drinking water supplies but in New Jersey also threatens our $44 billion coastal economy and the 838,000 workers employed in the fishing and tour-ist industries. The Monroe Township taxpayers currently bear the costs associated with the negative effects of plastic single-use carryout bags on the solid waste stream drainage, litter and the negative consequences of the foregoing environmental impacts.
Our resolution packet included copies of Ordinances from Jersey City, Hoboken and Ridgewood, a bibliography and Single-Use Plastic Bag Fact sheet. It is important that we act now to show support to our representatives and the Governor for the Senate Bill No. 2776 currently in Committee. This bill prohibits carryout bags made of plastic film, polystyrene foam food service products and single-use plastic straws; and assesses a fee on paper carryout bags. There are currently more than 20 New Jersey towns that have passed ordinances on plastics and many others that have passed resolutions asking the Governor to act. California, Hawaii and New York State have bans on plastics. Other US major cities and countries around the world have implemented bans or fees on plastics. We urge the Monroe Township Environmental Commission to take prompt action on this proposal. Acting will help our Green Team, in the Sustainable New Jersey Program, gain points to get our Township from Silver to Gold Status, the highest achievement, and empower our community to build a better world for future generations.
Submitted by Mary Ann Colgan