Plastic Bans Take Hold of NJ

by Nicole Wines

Since my post yesterday pointed out one of the ways NJ is “failing” when it comes to the environment (especially regarding planning for resiliency along coastal ecosystems in the face of climate change – c’mon NJ, get with it!), today I want to point at a tiny step NJ is taking towards reducing our impact on the environment, specifically in the form of disposable plastic bans. As NJ continues to work on its own statewide ban, which would include not just plastic bags and straws, but styrofoam as well, individual townships all around NJ, especially along the state’s coastline, have been creating their own municipal bag bans.

from European Parliament on Flickr

On January 1st, a plastic bag ban went into effect in Bradley Beach, along with about a dozen other municipalities. These municipalities are on a growing list of NJ towns taking the steps to refuse the plastic. While banning plastic bags and other disposable single use items such as styrofoam take out containers won’t solve all environmental problems or rid the state of pollution overnight, it is an important step at removing these types of items from acceptable daily use and in reducing the waste stream and the reliance on fossil fuel based products.

Living in a town that is working on a plastic bag ban ordinance of its own, I have experienced this as a surprising hot button issue, with some residents even proclaiming that banning plastic bags is the “beginnings of authoritarianism”, as the local elected officials band together to take away our “freedom of choice for a free plastic bag”. Some have even claimed that the day the town enacts its ban, they will boycott all shopping in the town and counter any positive environmental effects purposely by driving to other towns to shop and claim their free plastic bags…at least until NJ enacts its own sweeping-and extremely strict-statewide ban.

What are you doing to reduce your own reliance on single-use and disposable plastics? Start a discussion in the comments below!

4 Comments

  • Kevan R. Lunney commented on January 8, 2019 Reply

    I can’t wait for a ban! People just don’t like change. We all feel the strain of life going to fast and so many things we can’t control, but change we must. And big change can only happen by banding together which strikes some as being more socialistic and less Capitalistic. But nothing changes overnight. We must go toward helping one another so our children can live better than we have. We can no longer afford selfishness.

    • Nicole Wines commented on January 8, 2019 Reply

      Yes! Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Kevan. It is true that there are people who don’t like change, but change and transformation is what life is all about. It didn’t take very long for human society to transform into a fossil fuel based society, and if we put our minds to it and our hearts into it, it don’t have to take very long for us to transition right back out! In terms of being more or less socialistic or capitalistic, I prefer to think outside of both of those systems of control and strive for a solidarity economy based on cooperativism, community and care for the earth and each other. Have a blessed day!

  • Kathryn Nguyen commented on January 8, 2019 Reply

    I compost. I refuse plastic as people try to give it to me. (This takes vigilance!) I bring my own take-home container to restaurants. I write to companies on ways to reduce their plastic in packaging. I take the plastic stickers off the produce I buy and put it on the remaining fruits in the bin. (I don’t want them.). I buy eggs only in cardboard. I buy from Indian and Asian markets that don’t placticize their produce as much or as often. I buy second-hand where there is less packaging. I pick up plastic litter on every outing. I bring my own and family’s place settings to simple affairs. I save every unavoidable plastic bag to use again. I use powder laundry detergent, so there is no plastic bottle. I bought cream lotion bars at Lush. My husband bought compostable garbage bags. I buy frozen orange juice and reconstitute for less plastic packaging. I carry a stainless steel water bottle in my purse. I don’t drink coffee or tea. I pop my own popcorn to reduce packaging. I make origami cups out of paper napkins for party containers. I practice minimalism.

    • Nicole Wines commented on January 8, 2019 Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to write this list up to share here, Kathryn. These are all wonderful suggestions for reducing ones own individual ecological footprint, especially when it comes to our plastic problem. Isn’t it amazing how every step you take to reduce the amount of plastic you use in your daily life, you realize there are at least three more steps you could implement to make a bigger impact. It’s like a chain of discoveries about what a huge impact each of us has on the environment. Now multiply that by more than 7.5 billion individuals…imagine if each and every one just decided to refuse the unnecessary, disposable plastic?

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