STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION
Senator BOB SMITH
District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)
"Reduce Plastic and Paper Bag Usage Act."
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel
An Act concerning plastic and paper 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 "Reduce Plastic and Paper Bag Usage Act."
2. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. The production of plastic and paper carryout bags in the United States have 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, an estimated 14 billion plastic carryout bags and 10 billion paper carryout bags are used in the United States alone, of which 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; and
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.
The Legislature therefore determines that the State should require:
a. The operators of supermarkets and retail establishments to reduce the volume of plastic or paper carryout bags distributed to the customer and to impose a fee to discourage the use the paper or plastic carryout bags; and
b. The operators of supermarkets and retail establishments to provide an opportunity for a customer to purchase a reusable bag and provide only compostable plastic bags and recyclable paper bags to a customer 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" and "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.
4. a. Beginning January 1, 2011, every operator shall impose a $0.15 fee on every plastic carryout bag or paper carryout bag that is provided to a customer.
b. Beginning January 1, 2012, every operator shall:
(1) restrict the use of plastic carryout bags by 25% of the current volume;
(2) provide an opportunity for the customer to purchase a reusable bag; and
(3) provide only compostable plastic bags or recyclable paper bags to the customer.
c. Beginning January 1, 2013, every operator shall restrict the use of plastic carryout bags by 50% of the current volume.
d. Beginning January 1, 2014, every operator store shall restrict the use of plastic carryout bags by 75% of the current volume.
5. a. Beginning April 1, 2011, 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 this State, and at the same time shall pay 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 from a manufacturer and the total fees collected from the distribution of carryout bags.
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. The provisions of this act shall not apply to customers who currently are participants in the Work First New Jersey program established pursuant to P.L.1997, c.38 (C.44:10-55 et seq.).
7. The manufacturer and the operator distributing plastic carryout bags or paper carryout bags shall develop educational materials to encourage the reducing, reusing, and recycling of plastic bags and shall make those materials available to a store required to comply with the provisions of this act.
8. The department shall be responsible for the implementation and enforcement of this act. The department shall maintain all submitted reports in order to track progress to meeting the volume reduction goals of this act.
9. a. Any person who violates the provisions of this 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.
10. 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.
11. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill provides for the reduction in volume of paper and plastic carryout bags distributed by 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 must implement a $0.15 fee for every carryout bag distributed beginning January 1, 2011.
By January 1, 2014, the operator of all stores must restrict the use of plastic and paper carryout bags by 75% of current volume.
The bill requires a operator of a store to submit a report documenting the volume of plastic or paper carryout bags purchased from a manufacturer 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.
The bill also requires the operator of a store to make reusable bags available to customers for purchase by January 1, 2012 Further, beginning January 1, 2012, every operator must provide only compostable plastic bags or recyclable paper bags to its customers.