SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Jan. 1 marks the first day at least 10 towns and one county in New Jersey said goodbye to plastic bags as new local ordinances went into effect – banning so-called single-use plastics.
Customers at the Stop-and-Shop in South Orange are carrying their groceries out in reusable bags. The supermarket gave away more than 300 environmentally friendly totes to customers as a local ordinance banning plastic bags and charging a 5-cent fee for paper bags goes into effect Wednesday.
“I always bring my bags. I’ve been doing it for years… I don’t understand why we went to plastic in the first place,” Eliza Crespo of Maplewood said.
A statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, paper bags, Styrofoam food containers, and plastic straws – which has yet to be passed in Trenton – would be one of the strictest in the country.
Some local municipalities took it upon themselves, restricting the single-use plastics.
South Orange, Asbury Park, Bayonne, Garfield, Glen Rock, Paramus, Ridgewood, and Saddle Brook all imposed the new restrictions.
Now what do you do with all of the extra plastic bags you may have stored at home?
Some stores like Stop-and-shop recycle the single use plastic bags through a company called Trex. The bags are then turned into park benches.
Not everyone is as accepting of the changes.
I’m not thrilled to have to remember to bring my own bags but it’s important,” Steve Richard said.
If passed, the state bill goes a step further and bans paper bags at all but the smallest grocery stores. Smaller one-use bags for fruit and vegetables within larger stores are exempt.
Those representing the Styrofoam industry as well as the food industry oppose the plan, saying it will hurt take-out restaurants and schools.