Opinion: Ventnor shows environmental leadership with fee on single-use bags

plastic bag in tree

ED POTOSNAK / PRESS OF ATLANTIC CITY – Who hasn’t purchased a pack of gum, or other small item, only to have it swiftly loaded into a plastic shopping bag for the short journey to their car? More and more, New Jerseyans are realizing the extent of our wasteful plastic bag problem. Sometimes referred to as the “urban tumbleweed,” flimsy single-use bags are not only ugly to look at — often found hanging from trees, gathered in storm drains or washed up on shores — they’re also terrible for the environment. The chemicals in the plastic pose a threat to sea birds and fish, and all too often make their way back into our food.

A municipality in New Jersey has taken an exciting step forward in the fight against the hazards of plastic bags. Recently, the Board of Commissioners in Ventnor enacted an ordinance that would require stores to charge a fee for single-use bags at checkout. Additionally, the green team in Ventnor is applying for money to give the community free reusable bags, proactively addressing the customer convenience issue …

Ed Potosnak is executive director of the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters.

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