Now Law: Food banks get 6-month extension to phase out plastic bags, exemption from paper bag ban
TRENTON, NJ — In less than five weeks, New Jersey’s toughest single-use bag ban goes into effect. However, under MP Aura Dunn’s bill which was signed into law on Friday, food banks will be granted a six-month extension for plastic bags and an exemption from the part of the law banning paper bags.
“This law prevents plastic and paper bag bans from having unintended, but negative, impacts on those in need. It provides a lasting solution that supports these nonprofits and the communities they serve,” Dunn (R-Morris) said.
The legislation (A2065) also allocates $600,000 to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to pay for 500,000 reusable bags that will be distributed proportionately to food banks and pantries like soup kitchens across the state. Food banks will have until November to stop using single-use plastic bags.
Joe Nametko, the mayor of Netcong, says the town’s community food bank has been providing meals and supplies to an average of 150 to 175 people each week since the second week of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During the weeks leading up to the holidays, the number of meals we provide as pre-packaged foods increases a lot,” Nametko said. “Currently, residents who can afford to buy their own food are kind enough to bring their used plastic bags to our food bank where they are inspected and possibly reused. As a member of the Morris County Solid Waste Advisory, I do my best to ensure that the packaging that ends up in our food bank is recycled, repurposed, or repurposed. This new law gives us time to adopt new ways to ensure that our operations not only comply with the law, but also with the needs of our community. »