A ban on one-use plastic bags may be in the works for Hopewell Borough under an ordinance that was introduced by the Borough Council earlier this month.
The ordinance, which would prohibit borough businesses from handing out single-use plastic bags to their customers, is up for a public hearing and final action at the Sept. 6 council meeting.
“The intent of this ordinance is to adopt regulations relating to and limiting the use of single-use carryout plastic bags by businesses in the Borough of Hopewell,” the ordinance states. “The regulations are intended as necessary and proper steps by the borough to incentivize the use of reusable bags at businesses.”
Businesses and stores would be permitted to hand out paper bags, which can be recycled, or they may make reusable bags available to customers – either for sale or for free.
Customers would be able to bring their own bags, or carry out items they purchased without a bag, according to the ordinance. Store owners would be encouraged to promote reusable bags and to post signs encouraging their use, as well as other informational material.
Meanwhile, a state bill that would impose a fee on each plastic bag and paper bag in an effort to discourage their use is waiting for Gov. Phil Murphy’s signature. The new law would apply to drug stores, supermarkets and retail stores of at least 2,000 square feet.
“We are trying to get ahead and ban the bags,” Mayor Paul Anzano said of Hopewell Borough’s proposed ordinance.
But Councilman Sky Morehouse had questions about the ordinance. He objected to it because there is no educational component to it.
Morehouse said he carries a reusable bag when he goes grocery shopping, but said it is more difficult when someone stops at a convenience store.
That is why Morehouse wants a placard or poster near the cash register that would ask customers to think about it before they are handed a plastic bag. The clerk should ask the customer whether he or she wants a plastic bag.
Lisa Wolff, the executive director of the Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, told council members she supports the proposed ordinance.
“I am excited. I like this (proposed ordnance) very much,” Wolff said, adding that she agreed that an educational component should be part of the ordinance and regulations.