Brigantine’s city council has drafted an ordinance that would ban single-use carryout bags. The rule goes beyond the 5-cent fee on carryout bags that neighboring shore towns Ventnor and Longport recently introduced. Brigantine’s ordinance would allow plastic bags only in limited circumstances, such as bags without handles for prescription medication, dry-cleaning garment bags or bags for live – or previously live – bait.
The ban is being proposed to improve public health and safety, according to the draft. “Single-use carryout bags which are not properly disposed of by the consumer end up as litter on the City’s streets, beaches, wetlands and parks and in the ocean and bay, which has a negative effect on the public health, safety and welfare of City residents and visitors,” the draft says.
It is not clear when the ordinance would go before the council and officials at the City of Brigantine Beach did not respond to emailed questions. According to the current draft, the enforcement of the ordinance would begin next June. The city is requesting comments on the draft be submitted via email.
Popular sentiment around single-use plastic appears to be changing, particularly in shore towns. An attempt by Brigantine to introduce a 5 cent fee for single-use bags was opposed two years ago. Now, the move is toward outright bans. Atlantic County will introduce a ban on plastic bags and straws in its parks next week. Stone Harbor and Avalon are moving to ban a range of single-use items including Styrofoam cups and bags. Meanwhile legislation is currently before New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy that would impose a 5 cent fee on paper and plastic bags. The Surfrider Foundation, which has worked with municipalities on drafting plastic bag legislation, is calling for a veto of the proposed law because it does not go far enough. The organization has a list of ways individuals can act to reduce their plastic “footprint” on its website.