Single use plastics and bag ban info

BYOBag – Collingswood single-use bag ordinance takes effect April 15, 2020

Starting mid-April 2020, BYOB in Collingswood means bring your own bag. The Borough will begin enforcement of a single-use plastic bag ban ordinance that was adopted in October 2019.

The ordinance aims to decrease not only the use of plastic bags but all single-use bags. The hybrid ban/fee ordinance includes a fee for paper and a plastic ban. The policy prohibits single-use plastic bags at the point of sale for all retail establishments and requires a minimum fee of 10 cents for reusable or paper bags requested. Some exemptions apply, such as meats, produce products, prescriptions, dry cleaning and floral products. The goal is to encourage customers to get in the habit of bringing reusable bags when they shop in Collingswood. The hybrid ban/fee type ordinance was developed based on best practices recommended by the Surfrider Foundation, an organization that has extensively researched the effects of ordinances throughout the nation.  

“The only way we are going to change the culture around single-use bags is to create an environment that encourages people to shop more sustainably,” said Collingswood Mayor James Maley. “Collingswood has long been known for being a leader in sustainable efforts. This makes sense for our shopping districts and follows a national trend that helps support efforts to reduce reliance on single use plastics.”

Currently, 35 of New Jersey’s 565 municipalities and one of 21 counties have passed some sort of plastic bag ban or regulation. Of those, 23 are in effect with 12 slated to go into effect this year. Collingswood is the first town in the tri-county region comprised of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester Counties, to implement a bag reduction law. Collingswood’s ban also applies to bags at the Collingswood Farmers Market and Collingswood events and festivals.

Collingswood officials have been working over the past few months to share information with residents, guests, and businesses about the change. To kick off the program, consumers will be able to get a free reusable bag at participating retailers.

The single use bag ban is just one of a series of sustainable policies that helped propel Collingswood to Sustainable Jersey’s Silver Status, a prestigious recognition program that just 55 municipalities in the state received last year. The borough was recognized for adopting a green ordinance package and a variety actions in 14 different categories such as preserving natural resources, wildlife protection, energy efficiency, supporting arts and culture, economic resiliency, food production, land use and transportation, waste management, community education, and citizen engagement and communications.

“We applaud the borough for taking this bold step to help reduce waste and address climate change. We realize this is an adjustment for both consumers and businesses and we are committed to help address any challenges as we implement these changes,” said Collingswood Commissioner and Green Team leader Joan Leonard.

Collingswood single use bag ban overview:
Highly encouraged: Bring your reusable bag & reduce waste
Not permitted: Single-use plastic bags (some exemptions apply)
Permitted w/ fee: Paper or reusable bags from retailer
Permitted no fee: Small bags for food safety such as poultry & produce items

Resources and information:
Customer info sheet
Retailer info sheet
Official ordinance 1669