Thursday, May 7, 2020
Industry Lobbies Towns in Crisis to Bag the Bag Bans
NJ Food Council (NJFC) President Linda Doherty sent a letter to all NJ towns with ordinances banning plastic bags, suggesting that the Governor’s Executive Orders during the COVID-19 health emergency require towns to stop enforcing plastic bag reduction laws. NJFC says plastic bag laws
“impede the ability for citizens to obtain goods and/or may inadvertently cause further spread of COVID-19 by requiring the use of reusable bags.”
In response, seven organizations, including COA, sent a letter to the towns urging them and local stores to maintain local single use bag policies and timelines. The groups cited there are no stipulations in the Executive Orders that suggest the need to stop enforcing local ordinances. Furthermore, no evidence exists that single-use plastic bags are safer or more sanitary than reusable bags. In fact, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus can live up to three days on plastic. The NJFC is also attacking the use of reusable bags during the health crisis, which the groups have found to be a baseless argument based on sound science.
It is important to make sure that single-use plastic bag advocates cannot use the COVID-19 public health emergency as an excuse to stop plastic bans in New Jersey. We can have a clean environment and protect employees and customers at the same time.
COA is encouraged to know that some towns have chosen to stay strong on their plastic bag ordinances, and other towns, including Oceanport and Belmar, have passed plastic reduction ordinances in April. For more about plastic reduction ordinances, go to CleanOceanAction.org.