How many times can a man look up, and see plastic bags in the sky?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.
But the winds have changed here in Hudson County, as Jersey City and Hoboken play the political game of keeping up with the Joneses—with the ultimate winner being the environment.
At 10:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6, Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced that he would be proposing a new ordinance that will ban single-use, disposable plastic bags in Jersey City. The ordinance aims to tackle the proven environmental concerns related to the widespread use of single-use plastic bags, including increased litter, waste, and contamination to City neighborhoods and waterways.
(ABOVE: Seals in Jersey City, via Wild Jersey City)
Further details will be announced at a press conference on Thursday, June 7, with the proposed ordinance to be heard by the City Council on Wednesday, June 13th. Should it pass, Jersey City will be the largest city in New Jersey to ban single-use, disposable plastic bags.
Not to be outdone in terms of a bag ban, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla‘s office sent out a press release at 12:57 p.m., highlighting a proposed city-wide ban on single-use plastic bags. The statement claims that Bhalla had worked on the ordinance as a council member alongside Councilman Jim Doyle, who has co-sponsored it with Councilman Michael Russo.
“Single-use plastic bags are incredibly wasteful and destructive to our community and the environment,” said Bhalla. “The US wastes hundreds of billions of these bags every year. This ban is a reasonable way we as Hobokenites can do our part to cut down on litter and pollution.”
According to the City of Hoboken, on average, an individual uses 500 single-use plastic bags each year.
If passed, the Hoboken ordinance would ban retailers from bagging groceries and goods into single-use plastic bags—though plastic bags protecting produce, meat products, and newspapers would still be allowed. The ordinance would also apply a minimum fee of ten cents per paper bag used. In addition, retailers would be required to sell reusable bags for customers to be able to purchase if they wish.
The ordinance will be officially introduced to Hoboken City Council on Wednesday, June 6, with second readings for potential passage of the ordinances are scheduled for Wednesday, June 20.
This comes amidst a worldwide trend to curb plastic usage—particularly single-use, disposable plastic. Earlier this week, the South American nation of Chile announced its own ban on the items.
Incidentally, hMAG‘s publisher has been advocating this since before there was even an hMAG.
“Opportunistic politicians, consider the legacy,” we said, in a 2008 column in the Hudson Reporter. The sentiment was echoed in a 2015 Earth Day column, which—in the spirit of recycling—we’ve run every Earth Day since.
We genuinely look forward to writing a new column next year…