How grocery delivery will be implemented is a concern in new plastic bag ban in New Jersey

How grocery delivery will be implemented is a concern in new plastic bag ban in New Jersey

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TRENTON, N.J. — The Garden State’s plastic bag ban is set to go into effect on May 4.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported Thursday, there are still many unknowns about how grocery delivery will work.

Single-use plastic bags will soon be a thing of the past in New Jersey. The law also bans giving or selling paper bags in large grocery stores. So, you will have to remember to bring reusable bags.

“I think, for folks, it’s just getting into the habit, right? We are so dependent on these materials that we use once and then discard without even having knowledge of where they might go or how they impact the ecosystems at large,” said Kelly Knutson, of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed.

The law aims to reduce the amount of pollution from plastics.

“It reduces the impacts that we’re finding to our beaches and our communities and to marine life and wildlife,” said Kari Martin of the group Clean Ocean Action.

In 2021, beach sweep volunteers picked up more than 9,300 plastic bags off our shoreline.

A big question about the ban remains: If you order groceries online for home delivery or pickup, what will they be packaged in and will it cost you more?

Republican state Sen. Kristin Corrado says she supports the initiative, but points out there may be unintended consequences, like having to pay for new, reusable bags each time.

“We’ve heard more from constituents that rely on online services, whether it’s pickup or delivery from their supermarkets, and they’re in a panic. They’re in a full-blown panic right now that there’s going to be an added cost and they’re not going to be able to afford it, especially with the cost of groceries and inflation right now,” Corrado said.

Corrado will introduce a bill to exempt home delivery and pickup from the plastic bag ban, while grocery stores formulate a plan.

The New Jersey Food Council, which represents large chains, said merchants are developing their individual plans to offer reusable bags or other alternatives and innovative programs.

ShopRite said it will, “use reusable bags to pack online orders … with a flat charge of $1.50.”

“There are lots of discussions about alternatives being boxes. Maybe at some point there can be a reusable bag, you know, return type of program,” Martin said.

The new law also bans certain takeout food containers and plastic straws. It takes effect in 27 days.

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