Red Bank officials work toward banning plastic products

RED BANK – Members of the Red Bank Borough Council have introduced an ordinance that would, if adopted, prohibit the use and distribution of single-use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene foam containers by businesses in the community.

Council members voted unanimously and without discussion to introduce the ordinance on July 24.

A public hearing on the matter will be held during the council’s Aug. 21 meeting.

Members of the public may comment on or ask questions pertaining to the new law that evening. The ordinance may be adopted following the public hearing.

If and when the ordinance is adopted, businesses, restaurants and grocery stores will not be permitted to provide customers with single-use plastic carryout bags at any facility, borough-sponsored event or event held in town.

Businesses, restaurants and grocery stores may not provide single-use plastic bags to customers. Any business which provides single-use carry out bags must distribute reusable bags or paper bags made from a minimum of 40% percent post-consumer recycled content, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance states that food establishments may not distribute food in polystyrene/plastic foam. Disposable food service ware that contains polystyrene/plastic foam is prohibited. Red Bank contractors and event promoters would not be permitted to provide food in disposable polystyrene/plastic foam containers.

Plastic drinking straws would be provided to customers only upon request. Grocery stores and restaurants that distribute food service ware (i.e., plastic forks and knives) would be required to use recyclable or compostable products.

Contractors and event promoters who use disposable food service ware would be required to use recyclable or compostable products, with the exception of drinking straws.

Exemptions for recyclable or properly composted food service ware and

other polystyrene/plastic foam products include the following:

• Products made from polystyrene/plastic foam wholly encapsulated by a more durable material;

• Some construction products made from polystyrene/plastic foam;

• In an emergency situation and for the immediate preservation of the public health or safety;

• Laundry, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, or packages of multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste or yard waste;

• Bags provided by hospitals, medical providers, physicians, dentists and pharmacists.

Businesses that violate the ordinance would receive a written warning notice and pay

$250 for a first violation; $500 for a second violation within any 12-month period; and $1,500 for each additional violation within any 12-month period. Every 30 days a violation continues will constitute a separate offense, according to the ordinance.

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