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Monday, June 17, 2024

BYOB – Bring Your Own Bag

New Jersey has implemented State Law #864.

As of May 4th, all stores in New Jersey are prohibited from providing single-use carryout plastic bags to customers. The bill includes plastic straws and polystyrene containers.

Stores that are caught breaking the law will be fined. Repeat offenders can be fined $1,000 to $5,000.

Clean Ocean Action has been fighting for decades to ban plastics bags. Lightweight as they are, plastic bags amount to millions of pounds of trash every year.

This law will help protect our environment; reducing the plastic that end up in our oceans. One plastic bag can take 1,000 years to decompose in our landfills. For more info, visit Center for Biological Diversity’s website.

The new law hopes to take a chunk out of the number of plastic bags used by New Jersey residents, which previously had been about 4.4 billion a year.

Natures Harvest on Main Street in Blairstown has been preparing their customers for the switch over. Signs have been posted. A customer who would like to be nameless agrees with the ban. “I have been caring my own bag for years. Fossil fuels are used in so many things including plastic bags, why can’t we make a Biodegradable and non-toxic bag?”

Acme, Ace Hardware and Dales Market also have been preparing customers for the law. The stores all offer reusable bags for sale at their registers. A helpful tip from another customer in Ace Hardware, “I leave a box in the back of my car so if I decide to stop at a store after work, I don’t have to carry a bag with me.”

Bob Dylan’s folk song advocating for saving the Planet says, “The times they are a changing.” In the words of the immortal James Brown, “Papa’s Got a Brand-New Bag.”

Yelens Choban
MB Journe, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

MB has been a resident of Frelinghuysen for the past 22 years. She lives in an old farmhouse on the side of the road. She enjoys the simple life, puttering in her flower garden, practicing Qi Gong under her redbud tree, or creating art on the deck.
MB's experience as a journalist began when her son was quite young, she began writing for The Paulinskill Valley Chronicle, often bringing him to work with her. Her responsibilities were writing articles with photos, selling ads, and billing. This suited her, as a single mother not wanting to be separated from her small child.

She considers herself a lover of nature, often seen photographing its beauty. She has worked as a seasonal employee of YMCA Camp Mason for the past 17 years. She is a teacher and mentor of children, always emphasizing the YMCA’s core values - caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. She tries to listen carefully to each individual she interviews, getting their viewpoint. That is why she likes to write about the interesting people and places that make Warren County such a nice place to live.