Proposed plastic bag ordinances: Jersey City (NJ) and Wales
by Shanna Foley In recent plastic bag news, Jersey City New Jersey is currently considering an ordinance that would ban most plastic bags in the City, as well as targeting non-recyclable paper bags. The ordinance would require the use of compostable plastic, recyclable paper, or reusable bags at checkout for all stores.
Commenting on the ordinance, councilman Steven Fulop stated that “We have a responsibility to take care of the world around us. This legislation will force many necessary changes to protect our environment and lessen any negative impact. These plastic bags are often carelessly thrown on the ground creating unsightly litter, clogging the sewer systems, and endangering animals that could get trapped in them or consume them. This legislation is proof that Jersey City is taking steps to stay committed to waste reduction and actively supports environmental initiatives.”
According to the text of the ordinance, an estimated 350 bags per person, per year, are used by the residents of Jersey City, equaling a total of 84,836,150 million plastic bags per year.
Read the full text of the proposed ordinance at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/39967341/Proposed-Jersey-City-Plastic-Bag-Law
Similarly, the country of Wales is considering a tax on single-use bags, which if passed, will go into effect by October of 2011. A plenary debate of the Single Use Carrier Bag Charge will be held on November 30, 2010, and if approved, will be made law. The specific tax has not yet been decided but will likely be between 5 and 15p. "Net receipts will then be passed directly to environmental projects from retailers and would not therefore be passed either to the assembly government or a third party body," Although many news outlets have reported that the charge will apply to plastic bags, the charge will actually apply to all types of single-use bags, including paper.
Approximately 480 million single use plastic bags were given out in Wales in 2008. This number is expected to fall to about 320 million bags per year via voluntary agreements between retailers and the government, but the Welsh government felt that further action needed to be taken.
 Jon Whiten, Jersey City to Consider Law Banning Most Plastic Bags, Jersey City Independent (Oct. 21, 2010), available at http://www.jerseycityindependent.com/2010/10/21/jersey-city-to-consider-law-banning-plastic-bags/
 David Deans, Wales Plastic Bag Charge Plan Modified, South Wales Argus (Nov. 2, 2010), available at http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/8489275.Wales_plastic_bag_charge_plan_modified/
 Plastic Bag Charges by May 2011 (Nov. 3, 2009) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/8339049.stm
 Single Use Bag Study, Welsh Assembly Government (August 26, 2009) at iii, available at http://wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/epq/waste_recycling/substance/carrierbags/singleusestudy/?lang=en