South Orange also considers plastic bag fee

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SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — On Feb. 11, the South Orange Board of Trustees tabled a discussion and vote on second reading of an ordinance that would prohibit the use of plastic carry-out bags by retail establishments in the village and would charge a small fee to customers who use one. The ordinance aims to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags in an effort to be more environmentally friendly.

“Trustee Clarke has requested more time to meet with our retailers and has asked that this be tabled until March 11,” village President Sheena Collum said at the meeting, adding that tabling the ordinance would also allow the South Orange Village Center Alliance more time to discuss the measure. “SOVCA is the conduit for outreach to the business community and they have created a survey.”

Collum also said the BOT and business community would be working with the Environmental Commission and the Green Team to enact the plastic bag ban and enforce it in the future.

Trustee Mark Rosner said at the meeting that he would like the ordinance, if passed, to be similar to neighboring towns’ ordinances. Maplewood is currently in the discussion stage of a similar ban currently.

“If one town has passed an ordinance or is about to pass one, ours should match theirs,” Rosner said. “I think Maplewood is looking at a nickel a bag or a dime a bag, something like that. So I think we should coordinate and make it the same.”

Trustee Walter Clarke, who is the BOT liaison to the Green Team and the Environmental Commission, said that both organizations have been coordinating with Maplewood during their discussions.

“They’re still in the discussion stages and don’t know exactly where they’re going to end up,” Clarke said of the Maplewood Township Committee’s plastic bag fee ordinance at the meeting. “But we are pretty much in line with what they’re doing.”