By PETE WALTON
Bradley Beach officials will vote next week on a plan to curtail the use of plastic bags by businesses in the borough as an environmental move.
The Borough Council will vote July 24 on an ordinance prohibiting the distribution of most types of plastic bags.
“Effective Oct. 1, no operator of any store shall provide any single-use plastic carryout bag to any customer for the purpose of enabling a customer to transport products or goods out of the store,” the ordinance says.
Businesses will be allowed to charge no more than 5 cents for a single-use paper bag and customers will be allowed to provide their own reusable bags to transport items out of stores.
“Single-use plastic checkout or carryout bags create significant litter problems in the neighborhoods of Bradley Beach and have been found in our trees, parks, sewer systems, Fletcher and Sylvan Lakes, and on our dunes, beaches and in the Atlantic Ocean,” the preamble to the ordinance reads.
“The broad use of single-use plastic carryout bags and their typical disposal is an impediment to the achievement of the environmental goals of the borough to maintain a clean community that is not hazardous to wildlife. Studies document that banning single-use plastic carryout bags will dramatically reduce the use of plastic bags, encourage the use of recyclable paper bags, and increase customers’ use of reusable bags.”
The state Assembly and Senate recently approved legislation, as yet unsigned by Gov. Murphy, which would require stores with more than 2,000 square feet of retail space to charge 5 cents for each plastic or paper carryout bag provided to a customer, with 4 cents of that amount going to the state and 1 cent to be kept by the store operator.
The measure allows municipalities to adopt their own ordinances regarding single-use bags, provided that the ordinances are adopted prior to enactment of the state legislation.
Not included in the Bradley Beach bag ban are bags which are intended to separate and prevent an item from damaging or contaminating another item, laundry or dry-cleaning bags, newspaper bags, bags used to contain moisture, bags provided by pharmacists to hold prescription drugs, small clear plastic bags used by hardware stores to hold screws and bolts and other such items, and bags packaged and sold for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags.
The penalty for violating the ordinance is a fine not to exceed $100 for a first offense, and $500 for each offense thereafter.