The governor wanted more, and that's exactly what lawmakers are trying to deliver.
After Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a bill that would've created a five-cent sales tax on plastic and paper disposable bags and calling for stricter measures, lawmakers are back with a new proposal aimed at cutting back on plastic waste in the Garden State.
The proposal would ban stores from handing out single-use plastic shopping bags, plastic drinking straws and polystyrene food containers (like foam takeout clamshells) from being used in New Jersey. The bill would also create a 10-cent fee on single-use paper bags, which would finance a new "Plastic Pollution Prevention Fund."
The bill was advanced out of Senate environment committee on Thursday with a four-to-one vote.
The proposed 10-cent fee on paper bags would send five cents back to the store operators. The remaining money would go to the newly created fund. The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters, a supporter of the bill, praised the paper bag fee.
"Paper bags are extremely resource-intensive and, in the U.S., we use over 10 billion per year. That results in thousands of acres of trees cut down, over 1,300 acres just from New Jersey's paper bag consumption," said Ed Potosnak, the executive director of the NJLCV. "This fee is essential to drive the behavioral change we need - and that's to use reusable bags."
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