The Union County Board of County Commissioners announces the expansion of the reusable bag recycling program, aimed at addressing the surplus of reusable bags in the communities. This program is in collaboration with the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning, the Town of Westfield, the Housing Authority of the City of Elizabeth (HACE), the City of Linden, the Town of Kenilworth, the Borough of New Providence, the City of Plainfield, the Town of Hillside, the City of Summit, and GOATote, Inc. to provide a solution to this issue.

“With Union County residents at the heart of this initiative, we are transforming excess into opportunity, creating a sustainable cycle that benefits both our environment and our community,” said Commissioner Chairwoman Kimberly Palmieri-Mouded. “This program not only tackles waste but also represents unity and responsibility, showcasing the power of collective action for a greener, brighter future. Thank you to all of those who are involved in making this initiative possible.”

With the implementation of New Jersey’s Get Past Plastic law, which prohibits businesses from providing single-use plastic bags, many individuals have transitioned to using reusable bags. However, some people occasionally forget to bring their reusable bags to stores, resulting in the purchase of additional bags. Over time, this has led to an accumulation of excess reusable bags in households. Furthermore, grocery delivery services often provide customers with reusable bags, contributing to the surplus.

At the same time, Food Pantries and Food Banks have expressed that they are having difficulty keeping up with the need for reusable bags when distributing groceries to their clients. Since these entities are no longer permitted to use single-use plastic bags when handing out food and supplies, they go through reusable bags very quickly and are frequently in need of more.

Residents from any municipality in Union County can bring their gently-used reusable bags to any of the participating locations. GOATote, Inc. will collect the bags, thoroughly clean and sanitize them, and deliver them to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey in Hillside. From there, the bags will be distributed to local Food Pantries in need.

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