ASSEMBLY, No. 1193

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  LINDA STENDER

District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset and Union)

Assemblywoman  PAMELA R. LAMPITT

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

Assemblywoman  CELESTE M. RILEY

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires retail store operators to establish in-store recycling programs that provide opportunities for customers to return clean plastic carryout bags.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning plastic grocery bags, and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Plastic Grocery Bag Recycling Act.”

 

     2.  The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.  On a global level, the production of plastic bags has significant environmental impacts each year, including the use of over 12 million barrels of oil, and the deaths of thousands of marine animals through ingestion and entanglement;

     b.  Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide, which is over one million bags per minute, and of which billions of bags end up as litter each year; and

     c.  Most plastic carryout bags do not biodegrade which means that the bags break down into smaller and smaller toxic bits that contaminate soil and waterways and enter into the food web when animals accidentally ingest those materials.

     The Legislature therefore determines that the State should require:

     a.  The operators of supermarkets and retail establishments to establish an in-store recycling program that provides an opportunity for customers to return clean plastic carryout bags to that store for recycling;

     b.  Each plastic carryout bag provided by a supermarket or retail establishment to include specified information printed or displayed on the bag, and the placement of a plastic carryout bag collection bin in each store that is visible and easily accessible to the consumer;

     c. All plastic bags collected by supermarkets or retail establishments to be collected, transported, and recycled in a manner that does not conflict with county recycling plans;

     d.  The operators of supermarkets and retail establishments to maintain records describing the collection, transport, and recycling of plastic bags collected for a minimum of three years and to make these records available to the State or the relevant county recycling coordinator to demonstrate compliance therewith; and

     e.  The operators of supermarkets and retail establishments to make reusable bags available to customers within the store, which may be purchased and used in lieu of using a plastic carryout bag or paper bag, all as hereinafter provided.

 

     3.  As used in this act:

     “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.

     "Manufacturer" means the producer of a plastic carryout bag sold to a store.

     "Operator" means a person in control of, or having daily responsibility for, the daily operation of a store, which may include, but is not limited to, the owner of the store.

     "Plastic carryout bag" means a plastic carryout bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of sale.

     "Reusable bag" means: (1) a bag made of cloth or other machine washable fabric that has handles; or (2) a durable plastic bag with handles that is at least 2.25 mils thick and is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse.

     "Store" means a supermarket or retail establishment that has over 10,000 square feet of retail space and that provides plastic carryout bags to its customers as a result of the sale of a product.

 

     4.  a.  The operator of a store shall establish an in-store recycling program pursuant to this act that provides an opportunity for a customer of the store to return to the store clean plastic carryout bags.

     b.  The operator of a retail establishment that does not have over 10,000 square feet of retail space, and that provides plastic carryout bags to customers at the point of sale, may adopt an in-store recycling program pursuant to this act.

 

     5.  An in-store recycling program provided by the operator of a store shall include the following:

     a.  A plastic carryout bag provided by the store shall have printed or displayed on the bag, in a manner visible to a consumer, the words "PLEASE RETURN TO A PARTICIPATING STORE FOR RECYCLING."

     b.  A plastic carryout bag collection bin shall be placed at each store and shall be visible, easily accessible to the consumer, and clearly marked that the collection bin is available for the purpose of collecting and recycling plastic carryout bags.

     c.  All plastic bags collected by the store shall be collected, transported, and recycled in a manner that does not conflict with the relevant county’s district recycling plan adopted pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1987, c.102 (C.13:1E-99.13).

     d.  The operator of the store shall maintain records describing the collection, transport, and recycling of plastic bags collected for a minimum of three years and shall make the records available to the department or the relevant district recycling coordinator, upon request, to demonstrate compliance with the provisions of this act.

     e.  The operator of the store shall make reusable bags available to customers within the store, which may be purchased and used in lieu of using a plastic carryout bag or paper bag.  The provisions of this subsection shall not be applicable to a retail establishment specified pursuant to subsection b. of section 4 of this act.

 

     6.  The manufacturer of a plastic carryout bag shall develop educational materials to encourage the reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic bags and shall make those materials available to stores required to comply with the provisions of this act.

 

     7.  a.  Unless otherwise expressly provided by this act, the governing body of a county, municipality, or other public agency shall not adopt, implement, or enforce an ordinance, resolution, rule or regulation to do any of the following:

     (1)  Require the operator of a store that is in compliance with the provisions of this act to collect, transport, or recycle plastic carryout bags;

     (2)  Impose a plastic carryout bag fee upon the operator of a store that is in compliance with the provisions of this act; or

     (3)  Require auditing or reporting requirements that are in addition to what is required by subsection d. of section 5 of this act, upon the operator of a store that is in compliance with the provisions of this act.

     b.  The provisions of subsection a. of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the adoption, implementation, or enforcement of any local ordinance, resolution, rule or regulation governing curbside or drop off recycling programs operated by, or pursuant to a contract with, a county, municipality, or other public agency, including any action relating to fees for these programs.

 

     8.  a.  Any person who violates the provisions of this act shall be subject to a penalty of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each offense, to be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.), or in any case before a court of competent jurisdiction wherein injunctive relief has been requested.  The Superior Court and the municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999" in connection with this act.

     If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues constitutes an additional, separate, and distinct offense.

     b.  The department may institute a civil action for injunctive relief to enforce this act and to prohibit and prevent a violation of this act, and the court may proceed in the action in a summary manner.


     9.  The department shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B‑1 et seq.), rules and regulations as are necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     10.  This act shall take effect January 1, 2008.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would require every retail store operator to establish an in-store recycling program that provides an opportunity for customers to return clean plastic carryout bags to that store.  The bill would require a plastic carryout bag provided by a store to have specified information printed or displayed on the bag, and would require the placement of a plastic carryout bag collection bin in each store that is visible and easily accessible to the consumer.  All plastic bags collected by the store must be collected, transported, and recycled in a manner that does not conflict with the relevant county district recycling plan.

     The bill would also require the operator of a store to make reusable bags available to customers for purchase.

     The bill would require a manufacturer of plastic carryout bags to develop educational materials to encourage the reducing, reusing, and recycling of plastic carryout bags and to make the materials available to stores.

     This bill is based on recently enacted legislation in California which became effective on January 1, 2007.