The Legislature is looking at requiring some containers be manufactured with a minimum amount of recycled materials as a way to reduce plastic pollution. It’s an idea with some backing from advocates but with a caveat — not if it undermines pending approval of a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.
The issue arose Wednesday during a committee hearing on a bill (S-2515) that aims to require certain amounts of recycled plastic, paper and glass to be used in plastic and glass carryout containers, carryout bags and trash bags.
Beyond reducing the manufacture of new plastics, the bill is viewed by proponents as helping to create new markets for recycled plastics and other materials that have otherwise collapsed, in part because of a decision by China to stop accepting recycled materials.
Gary Sondermeyer, vice president of operations at the Bayshore Recycling Corp. in Woodbridge, called the bill the most comprehensive blueprint for establishing a recycling market ever attempted in New Jersey.
“The point is to get as much of this stuff out of landfills and incinerators,’’ said Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), the chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and bill’s sponsor. It also would make recycling more feasible here while helping out municipalities who have seen recycling costs spike because the recyclables they collect end up in garbage dumps, he said.