LEADING POLITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF PLASTICS BILL BY NEW JERSEY LEGISLATURE
TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey League of Conservation Voters applauded the passage of the Plastics Reduction Act (A1978/S864) by the New Jersey Legislature. It bans single-use plastic and paper bags, bans polystyrene food service products, and makes plastic straws available by request only.
“This nation-leading single-use plastics and paper reduction policy will do exactly what we need it to—reduce the 4.4 billion single-use plastic bags we use annually with far too many making their way into our rivers, oceans, and open spaces,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “It will help preserve our state’s unique natural resources and open spaces, and is what’s best for our families and the economy.”
New Jersey has become ground zero for plastics litter as most of the litter found on our beaches is plastic. These small pieces of plastic permeate our lives: they are in the water we drink, the fish we eat, and the air we breathe, posing health concerns for New Jersey residents and other wildlife. Paper bags are also not the solution to plastic; it is estimated that 1,300 football fields of trees would need to be cut down every year in order to satiate New Jersey’s current paper bag appetite, and the manufacturing process is extremely resource intensive, even more so than single-use plastics.
“This is a big day for our organization. As the political voice for the environment, this is the third of our five Common Agenda for the Environment legislative priorities to be sent to the Governor’s desk this session,” added Potosnak. “We are thankful for our partners at ANJEC, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, and New Jersey Audubon who have helped lead the charge for this nation-leading legislation.”
The timing of this bill is critical as the pandemic has ushered a wave of misinformation about the benefits of single-use plastics. Earlier this year, the Plastics Industry Association had endorsed a claim that New Jersey LCV labeled as “misguided” saying single-use plastics are the safest choice amid the pandemic.
According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 17, 2020, COVID-19 stays on plastics longer than cardboard and cloth— roughly three times longer. According to New Jersey LCV the push for using single-use plastics to help manage the spread of COVID-19 was misguided because single-use plastics are not an objectively safer product and they continue to contribute to waste and pollution.
About half of the plastic ever made has been produced in the last 15 years, and we are on pace to quadruple our plastics production by 2050. Potosnak believes these stats demonstrate why it’s crucial we do what we can to reduce the use of plastics.
“Today we can celebrate as we take one more step toward reducing the plastic that is harming our health, communities, and waterways,” added Potosnak. “We urge Governor Murphy to sign the Plastics Reduction Act as soon as possible.”
The New Jersey League of Conservation Voters is a non-partisan organization whose mission is to elect environmental champions, hold public officials accountable, and support laws that protect our environment and improve the quality of people’s lives.