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Earlier this evening, the Asbury Park city council voted to ban single-use plastic bags. In addition to the ban, the ordinance also calls for a fee on both paper and reusable bags which we feel is a necessary step to incentivize and push the use of reusable items. The ban will go into effect January 1st of 2020. The Jersey Shore Chapter was approached by, and made a presentation to the Asbury Park, NJ Mayor and Council. The Chapter has conducted numerous beach cleanups in Asbury Park over the years and began collecting and cataloging the data of items found. This information was used to support the idea of bag legislation in the small Monmouth County City.

Billions of pounds of plastic debris ends up in the Earth’s oceans each year. Single-use plastic bags continue to be a serious threat to marine life. No body of water, waterway, beach, or shoreline is unaffected by this pollution. We would like to thank Asbury Park for listening to our guidance and taking action to reduce plastic pollution! We would also like to thank all of the individuals who made calls and sent emails stating your support of the ban.

There are numerous NJ towns that have passed plastic bag laws. These range from a straight-up fee on both paper and plastic like in Longport, NJ to laws that only ban plastic bags like in Belmar Monmouth Beach, and Long Beach Township. But there is a third type of law, a hybrid, which places a ban on thin single use plastic bags, and puts a fee on paper and other types of bags  like the laws in Bradley Beach and Hoboken. If you are sick of seeing plastic bags littered everywhere in your hometown, tell your elected officials you want to see a law introduced. You can use this Surfrider Plastic Bag Toolkit to get your Green Team, Environmental Commission, or Town Council to understand these types of laws before your town acts!