The following pieces of legislation are up in the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on Monday, December 9.
A4330 (Pinkin): Prohibits use of plastic carryout bags, expanded polystyrene, and single-use plastic straws. The bill would prohibit the use of single-use plastic carryout bags in stores and food service businesses, and would ban food service businesses from offering single-use plastic straws. It would also ban the sale of polystyrene and would prohibit food service businesses from selling or providing food packaged in polystyrene containers.
“This bill is a major step forward in dealing with plastics and plastic pollution. Plastics are a menace and an existential threat to our drinking water, beaches, and wildlife. Microplastics have already been found near our drinking water supply, so we could literally be drinking plastic. Animals like fish and birds can ingest plastic, and plastic bags have been known to clog storm drains and fill up detention basins, affecting our water quality,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This bill is important because it will ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers. It also should not allow fake reusable bags. It will also allow paper bags during the transition before phasing them out slowly.”
The bill would prohibit the use of single-use plastic carryout bags and paper bags in stores and food service businesses, and would ban food service businesses from offering single-use plastic straws. It would also ban the sale of polystyrene and would prohibit food service businesses from selling or providing food packaged in polystyrene containers.
“We need this legislation because it not only bans plastic bags, but also polystyrene and the offering of plastic straws. Polystyrene is dangerous to human health because it contains carcinogenic chemicals such as benzene and styrene, and it has been found in breast milk. It is harmful to the environment because it is not recyclable and does not degrade. Plastic straws pollute our oceans and beaches. Last year, New Jersey found that more than 80% of their trash is plastic and found an increase in plastic straw waste by 59%,” said Tittel. “By reducing how much plastic we use, we can also reduce fracking and fossil fuel use. Plastics are made from natural gas, which means more fossil fuel use, more pipelines, and more fracking.”
A4267 (McKeon): Concerns regulations of solid waste, hazardous waste, and soil and debris recycling industries.
“This bill is important because it addresses New Jersey’s ongoing problems with illegal dumping of contaminated materials. The Special Commission of Investigation’s first “Dirty Dirt” report in 2016 exposed the rampant problem of soil brokers and dirty dirt. Since that report the illegal dumping is still happening, risking the environment and public health. That’s because there hasn’t been any action by DEP and the Legislature to stop it. The industry has ties to the mob, and there are serious pollution and health impacts,” said Tittel.