Elected officials have given New Jersey’s food pantries and food banks extensions to comply with a new law that will soon ban the use of single-use plastic bags in most stores and eateries.
On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law giving meal-distributing charities a six-month extension to comply with the single-use plastic bag ban. Under the law, the state government will use her $600,000 to provide 500,000 free reusable carry-out bags to organizations to distribute to the people they serve. The expansion also includes homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and religious facilities that feed low-income people.
Friday’s law is part of a broader statewide move to ban the distribution or sale of single-use plastic bags and most plastic foams by grocery stores, restaurants and eateries.
Environmentalists have hailed the change, saying it would alleviate the growing problem of plastic pollution in the environment.
“The statewide bag ban is a monumental step, but it’s a huge step forward for major food banks and food pantries to transition to renewable bags,” said Anjuli Ramos-Busot, director of the Sierra Club of New Jersey. It’s important to have the resources and the capabilities.” statement.
New Jersey’s ban goes into effect May 4, at which point most shoppers will be required to bring their own reusable carry-out bags to shop and purchase reusable bags .
Scientists and environmentalists have warned of the growing risk of plastic pollution, especially the habit of breaking it into microscopic debris that is now found throughout the environment.
“In the not too distant future, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean,” said Amy Goldsmith, director of the New Jersey chapter of environmental advocacy group Clean Water Action.
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“Plastic doesn’t really degrade, it’s just smaller and smaller pieces of plastic,” she said. “Plastic will never go away… Fish eat plastic. Wildlife and fish starve to death because their stomachs fill with plastic.”
Scientists are just beginning to understand how these tiny pieces of plastic affect human health.
According to USA TODAY, on Friday, scientists in the Netherlands announced that microsplastics were found in human blood for the first time. have not yet figured out which.
Goldsmith said New Jersey residents cannot afford to wait to take action.
“Many people depend on the oceans, bays, lakes and rivers for food,” she said.
New Jersey has already launched a campaign against single-use plastic. Last November, fast food chains, restaurants and other eateries were banned from distributing plastic straws.
“New Jersey has one of the strongest plastic bans in the country to help combat plastic,” said Ramos Busot of the Sierra Club. , I understand that it will be difficult for everyone at first, but as a whole we can and will adjust.Our environment has been suffocated by plastic bags, microplastics and polystyrene for a long time. It has been taken.”
Amanda Oglesby is an Ocean County native and is responsible for the towns and environments of Brick, Barnegut and Lacey. She has been working in the press for over ten years. Contact her at @OglesbyAPP, [email protected] or her 732-557-5701.