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Environment committee to take up bill banning plastic bags

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The Senate Environment Committee is scheduled to take up a bill Thursday that calls for a ban on Styrofoam and plastic bags and straws.

Under the proposed Senate Bill 2776, persons, stores and restaurants would be barred from selling or giving out plastic bags, Styrofoam containers or plastic straws.

Violations would mean a penalty of $5,000 per each offense. Each day the violation continues would constitute a separate offense.

The committee will also consider three resolutions related to plastic bags. Senate Concurrent Resolution 135 would urge all levels of government to take part in cooperative action to reduce the amount of plastic waste from the state’s waters.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 136 would urge the federal government to take action requiring manufacturers of plastic products to take responsibility for the pollution those products cause.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 137 asks the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to establish a state-run plastics recycling marketplace, whereby single-use plastics would diverted from landfills and instead be used for other reusable materials.

At an August hearing in Toms River, Senate Environment Chair Bob Smith, D-17th District, said that the state Legislature plans to move ahead with hearings that would explore banning Styrofoam and single-use plastics.

During that hearing, Gov. Phil Murphy’s office signaled its intent to veto a 5-cent fee on single-use plastics, which he did so the following Monday.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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