A Sparta Township Councilman suggested looking for ways to educate the public about the coming plastic bag ban, which was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy on Nov. 4.
At the council’s Nov. 10 meeting, Councilman Dan Chiariello said the council has a role to play to prepare businesses in town for the change, which will go into effect May 2022.
Starting then, both plastic and paper single-use bags, as well as disposable food containers and cups made from polystyrene foam, will be banned in the state.
“Plastic bags are one of the most problematic forms of garbage, leading to millions of discarded bags that stream annually into our landfills, rivers and oceans,” Gov. Murphy said on Nov. 4. “With today’s historic bill signing, we are addressing the problem of plastic pollution head-on with solutions that will help mitigate climate change and strengthen our environment for future generations.”
Chiariello said it’s going to be a behavioral change for residents.
“Other states have done it, and I think we can learn from them,” he said.
Deputy Mayor Christine Quinn said any township action preparing businesses for the ban should come from the Economic Development Committee. The township should ask if the committee has been discussing ideas.
“Instead of redoing what they may be doing, let’s kick it to them,” Quinn said.
Major Jerard Murphy said he hadn’t heard any specific ideas coming out of the EDC but said this is one of his goals every year.
“I am glad to hear this news,” Murphy said.
According to the state, the focus will be on the transition to reusable bags.
Some items will be exempt for an additional two years, including disposable, long-handled polystyrene foam soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks, portion cups of 2 ounces or less, meat and fish trays for raw or butchered meat, any food product pre-packaged by the manufacturer, or any other polystyrene foam food service product.
Chiariello said they should try to monitor the plastic polluting the Wallkill River and the ponds and lakes.
“We have that data in our pocket, and we can see how well we’re doing,” he said. “There are a lot of things to plan out.”
“Other states have done it, and I think we can learn from them.” Councilman Dan Chiariello