Parsippany proposes ban on single use bags at Retail Establishments

PARSIPPANY — Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council will introduce an ordinance that will ban single use plastic bags at retail establishments at its next Township Council meeting to be held on Tuesday, June 25.

Any bag made predominantly of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically based source, such as corn or other plant sources, that is provided by an operator of a retail establishment to a customer at the point of sale will be banned. The term includes compostable and biodegradable bags but does not include reusable bags, produce bags, or product bags.

Council President Paul Carifi, Jr.

Council President Paul Carifi, Jr., said “This is something we need to do. These plastic bags don’t go away. It takes anywhere from twenty to a thousand years for a plastic bag to decompose. They are slowly destroying the environment. I am glad that we the  Council of Parsippany are doing our part to help save the environment.”

The Parsippany-Troy Hills Environmental Advisory Committee (PEAC) recommends that it is in the best interest of the Township to regulate the use of single-use plastic bags and paper bags by retail establishments and promote the use of reusable bags within the Township. The members of the PEAC are well aware of the difficulties and pressure that will be surrounding such an endeavor. In the Ordinance there is an outreach and education section that our committee would be willing to help organize and establish in our community.

“We appreciate the many residents who attended the council meeting in support of the ban and understand that the ever increasing use of plastic is out of control with a major contributor the 1 trillion plastic bags used globally. Plastic bags have become so ingrained in our daily routines causing us to lose sight of their impact on our environment and health. Locally single use plastic bags degrades our towns, parks, rivers and streams. This is a great first step in protecting our environment. I’m proud that Parsippany is the first town in Morris County to introduce the ban,” said Council Vice President Janice McCarthy.

Any store or commercial establishment that sells perishable or nonperishable goods, including, but not limited to, clothing, food and personal items, directly to the customer and is located within or doing business within the geographical limits of the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills.  Retail establishments include business establishments that generate sales or use-tax; drug stores; pharmacies; supermarkets; grocery stores; convenience food stores; food marts; or other commercial establishments (i.e. restaurants and take-out food establishments or any other business that prepares and sells prepared food to be eaten on or off its premises).  This definition also includes commercial establishments that sell clothing, hardware, or any other non-perishable goods.  It does not include nonprofit charitable re-users as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or a distinct operating unit or a division of the charitable organization that reuses and recycles donated goods or materials and receives more than 50% of its revenue from the handling and sale of those donated goods and materials.

Retail Establishments shall make available to customers, for a fee, compliant bags for the purpose of carrying goods or other materials away from the point of sale, subject to the provisions of this Chapter. The fee charged shall be reflected in the sales receipt. Retail establishments shall make recyclable paper carry-out bags available to customers upon request for a fee not more than $0.25 per bag if customers choose not to bring their own reusable bag. Establishments must provide  free of charge, compliant bags, to any customer who participates in any welfare program including but not limited to the New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the New Jersey State Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI). Such customers must provide documentation proving that they participate in, or are beneficiaries of such programs.

No provision in the ordinance prohibits customers from using bags of any type that they choose to bring to a retail establishment themselves, in lieu of using bags available for a fee from the retail establishment, or from carrying away goods that are not placed in a bag.

Judy Hernandez

“I commend the Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills for taking a stand, to do its part to protect our oceans, local waterways and natural resources from the problems associated with non-degradable plastic bag pollution. We are not the first or the last to take on this commitment, but now become part of an ever-growing community of towns that will make a stand for their future.  Parsippany is doing the right thing by changing our actions today for a better planet tomorrow,” Judy Hernandez, Vice Chair, Parsippany-Troy Hills Environmental Advisory Committee.

Retail establishments will receive on written warning, and thereafter a fine not exceeding $100 for the first violation after the written warning notice is given; a fine not exceeding $200 for the second violation after the written warning notice is given; and a fine not exceeding $500 for the third and any subsequent violations after the written warning notice is given.

The ordinance shall take effect six months from the date of its final passage, approval and publication as provided by law.

The next Parsippany-Troy Hills Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 25 at Parsippany Municipal Building, 1001 Parsippany Boulevard. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

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