A bill that would suspend the state’s ban on paper bags for grocery delivery services for five years won’t turn it into law without change.
New Jersey’s ban on single-use paper and plastic bags went into effect in May, but delivery services met the ban with some friction, and reports of reusable bags piling up exponentially. inside homes due to food deliveries have led critics of the bag ban to complain about the unintended consequences of the law.
The new proposal (S3114), sponsored by Sens. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex) and Kristin Corrado (R-Passaic), would allow grocery delivery services to use paper bags containing at least 40% recycled material and cardboard boxes to deliver their orders for five year.
This deadline is unachievable, the sponsor of the bill told the Assembly.
“It seems like too much time,” said MP John McKeon (D-Essex), who introduced the Assembly’s version of the bill on Monday and added that he favored a sunset of two or three years.
Food banks and pantries have had an additional six months to prepare for the bag ban.
More than a decade in the making, the state’s bag ban was a hard-fought victory for environmentalists, and its implementation came only a year and a half after it was signed into law, a timeframe intended to enable businesses to catch up. its requirements.
The new bill would also require grocery stores or delivery services that use reusable bags for their orders to launch programs that would allow customers to return unwanted bags. Under the bill, stores and delivery services would not be allowed to charge a fee for returned bags, although it’s unclear whether that would prevent them from charging for bags used for deliveries.
Only delivery services, which were already in the midst of a pandemic wave when Murphy signed the bill in November 2020, never did. On the eve of its implementation in May, delivery services had still largely avoided a solution, although some would start charging customers for the reusable bags used to carry their orders.
The dithering hasn’t warmed McKeon’s respect for delivery services.
“It bothers me that this problem arose because in the last legislation we gave the industry a year and a half to figure out this stuff, so there weren’t these kinds of issues,” said McKeon.
He also takes issue with how quickly the Legislative Assembly is moving to change the bag ban. Lawmakers had planned to review the ban once she was two years old. It came into force five months ago.
The bag ban has mostly succeeded in reducing litter, he said, which he doesn’t want to lose out on in the uproar over the tweaks lawmakers decide to pass.
“There are literally thousands of pounds each month of plastic and paper that we keep out of the waste system,” McKeon said. “We should be on the highest mountains screaming success. It seems that this little aspect caught everyone’s attention.
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