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.
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!