ASSEMBLY, No. 3261

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED SEPTEMBER 27, 2012

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  CONNIE WAGNER

District 38 (Bergen and Passaic)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Wolfe and McGuckin

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     “Plastic and Paper Bag Reduction Act”; requires certain retailers to provide recyclable, compostable or reusable bags instead of plastic or paper carryout bags.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning plastic and paper carryout 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 and Paper Bag Reduction Act.”

 

     2.    The Legislature finds and declares that:

     a.     The production of plastic and paper carryout bags in the United States has significant and detrimental environmental impacts each year; using over 12 million barrels of oil, cutting down over 14 million trees, and killing thousands of marine animals through ingestion and entanglement;

     b.    Each year, billions of plastic and paper carryout bags are used in the United States alone, and estimates indicate that only one percent of the plastic carryout bags are returned for recycling;

     c.     Most plastic carryout bags when biodegrading become toxic, contaminating soil and waterways, and plastic and paper carryout bags take up a large volume of the solid waste in landfills;

     d.    The plastic and paper carryout bags that are recycled must go through a lengthy and labor-intensive process of reintegration and renewal, using many chemicals, intense heat, and water; and

     e.     It is therefore in the interest of this State to require supermarkets and retail establishments to: (1) reduce the volume of plastic or paper carryout bags distributed to customers by imposing a fee to discourage their use; and (2) offer reusable bags for purchase and provide only compostable plastic bags and recyclable paper bags to customers of the store.

 

     3.    As used in this act:

     “Carryout bag” means a bag provided by a store at the point of sale for customers to carry their goods out of the store.

     “Compostable plastic bag” means a plastic carryout bag that meets the current American Society for Testing and Materials International Standard (ASTM) D6400 for compostable plastic, as the standard may be amended from time to time.

     “Department” means the Department of Environmental Protection.

     “Manufacturer” means the producer of a plastic carryout bag or a paper 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.

     “Paper carryout bag” means a paper carryout bag provided by a store to a customer at the point of a sale.

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

     “Recyclable paper bag” means a paper carryout bag that meets all the following requirements: (1) the bag contains no old growth fiber; (2) the bag is 100% recyclable overall and contains a minimum of 40% post-consumer recycled content; and (3) the bag displays the words “reusable” or “recyclable.”

     “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 convenience store, drugstore, supermarket or retail establishment that has over 1,000 square feet of retail space and that provides plastic carryout bags or paper carryout bags to its customers as a result of the sale of a product or item.

 

     4.    a.  Beginning January 1, 2013, every operator shall:

     (1)   impose a $0.10 fee on every plastic carryout bag or paper carryout bag that is provided to a customer; and

     (2)   provide an opportunity for a customer to purchase a reusable bag.

     b.    Beginning January 1, 2015, every operator:

     (1)   shall provide an opportunity for a customer to purchase a reusable bag;

     (2)   shall provide only compostable plastic bags or recyclable paper bags to a customer; and

     (3)   shall not provide any non-compostable or non-recyclable bag to a customer.

 

     5.    a.  Beginning April 1, 2013, and quarterly thereafter, every operator shall submit a report to the department for the purpose of tracking progress on the reduction of plastic carryout bag and paper carryout bag volume in the State, and at the same time shall pay the department the dollar equivalent of the amount collected from customers as plastic carryout bag or paper carryout bag fees.  The report shall document the volume of plastic carryout bags or paper carryout bags purchased by an operator and the total fees collected pursuant to section 4 of this act.

     b.    The revenues from the fees on plastic carryout bags and paper carryout bags shall be used by the department to defray the costs of implementation and enforcement of this act.

 

     6.    a.   Every manufacturer distributing plastic carryout bags or paper carryout bags shall develop educational materials to encourage the reduction in use, reuse, and recycling of plastic bags and shall make those materials available to every store required to comply with the provisions of this act.

     b.    Every operator distributing plastic carryout bags or paper carryout bags shall display educational materials, developed by manufacturers pursuant to subsection a. of this section, to encourage the reduction in use, reuse, and recycling of plastic bags.

 

     7.    a.   The department shall implement and enforce this act, and shall maintain all reports submitted pursuant to section 5 of this act.

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

 

     8.    a.  Any person who violates this act, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, 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.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, to be known as the “Plastic and Paper Bag Reduction Act,” would reduce the volume of single-use paper and plastic carryout bags distributed by certain stores.

     Specifically, the operator of every convenience store, drugstore, supermarket or retail establishment that has over 1,000 square feet of retail space and that provides plastic carryout bags or paper carryout bags to its customers as a result of the sale of a product would be required to charge a $0.10 fee for every carryout bag distributed beginning January 1, 2013.  The fees collected would be used by the Department of Environmental Protection to defray the implementation and enforcement costs of the bill.  The bill also requires the operator of a store to make reusable bags available to customers for purchase by January 1, 2013.

     The bill requires an operator of a store to submit a quarterly report documenting the volume of plastic or paper carryout bags purchased by the operator and the total fees collected from the distribution of carryout bags to the Department of Environmental Protection, for the purpose of tracking progress on the reduction of paper and plastic carryout bag volume.

     Further, beginning January 1, 2015, every operator must provide only compostable plastic bags or recyclable paper bags to its customers and would be prohibited from providing any non-compostable or non-recyclable bag to a customer.