Single-use plastic bag fee could be implemented in NJ

Posted: Updated:
TRENTON -

A bill passed by the state Legislature that would impose a 5-cent fee on single-use plastic bags if it is signed by Gov. Phil Murphy.

Environmentalists say that plastic bags are terrible for the environment because they can harm whales, fish and birds and take centuries to degrade.

Environmental activists like the Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel are urging the governor not to sign the bill, and instead impose a complete ban on plastic bags in the state.

“We like the California model, which is a hybrid. They ban plastic single-use bags and they put a fee on the other bags. So if you use paper it’s a 10-cents fee or a reusable bag,” Tittel says.

RELATED: Jersey City Council approves ban on plastic bags
RELATED: Pt. Pleasant Beach introduces ordinance to ban plastic bags
RELATED: New Jersey could see the end of single-use plastic bags

Tittel says that a similar plastic bag fee in Chicago only reduced use by 30 percent. He says that the ban in Los Angeles County cut down use by 94 percent.

“It would drop, but it’s still a lot of bags going into our landfills and bags going into our streams,” he says.

Lawmakers say that the fee would bring in tax revenues for New Jersey. But some Republicans are slamming the plan, saying that the fee would be “nickel-and-diming” New Jerseyans.

Some state residents also slam the idea, saying that plastic bags aren’t worth the fee.

“I think it’s ridiculous because these bags, they’re thin quality. I have to double the bags sometimes,” says Cynthia Cardona. “You’re going to charge 10 cents because you’re so cheap?”

Several towns in New Jersey have already banned plastic bags and provide reusable bags for customers.

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