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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Next Year NJ Merchants Could Charge .05 Cents For Every Plastic Bag

Last month a bill known as the "Carryout Bag Reduction and Recycling Act" was introduced   by Assemblywoman Linda Stender. If approved, the bill would: 

(1) require stores to impose a $.05 fee per bag for the use of disposable carryout bags, 
(2) allow stores to provide a $.05 credit for each bag provided by a customer, and 
(3)  require disposable carryout bags provided by stores to be recyclable by January 1, 2015.

The bill would require the operator of any store to impose a $.05 fee on every disposable carryout bag provided to a customer.  The operator would retain $.01 and remit the remaining $.04 to the Department of Environmental Protection.  The operator of a store may also establish a voluntary carryout bag credit program, where a customer would be provided a credit of $.05 for each carryout bag the customer provides.  Should an operator establish a voluntary carryout bag credit program, the operator would be authorized to retain $.02 of every $.05 imposed for providing a disposable carryout bag to a customer.
Under the bill, the provisions would apply to the operator of a convenience store, bakery, drugstore, supermarket, liquor store, restaurant, delicatessen or retail establishment that provides carryout bags to its customers but would not apply to a farm market as defined pursuant to section 3 of P.L.1981, c.31 (C.4:1C-3).  The committee substitute would not apply to (1)  bags used inside of a store to package bulk items, unwrapped prepared food or bakery items, prescription drugs, frozen food, meat or fish, or flowers, (2) paper carryout bags provided to a customer to carry out food from a restaurant with seating, or (3) plastic bags used to package newspapers or dry-cleaning.

For more information on the pending bill, please contact Peter Lamont at (973) 949-3770 or plamont@peterlamontesq.com.

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