Joint Legislative Environment Hearing in Toms River Opens Discussion on Single-Use Plastics and Plastic Waste in New Jersey

(TOMS RIVER) – The Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee met jointly with the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Thursday at the Toms River Municipal Complex Building to discuss single-use plastics and plastic waste, the harmful effects they have on the environment and how New Jersey can minimize and eventually end our reliance on single-use plastic items.

“Each day, Americans use 500 million plastic straws, and each year, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags and throw away 25 billion Styrofoam coffee cups,” said Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Chairwoman Nancy Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “All of this waste inevitably ends up sitting in landfills or polluting our oceans, killing over one million seabirds and 100,000 marine animals every year and it contributes to global warming. Climate change is a real, serious threat, and it is an issue we must work to tackle swiftly and decisively for the sake of our children and grandchildren.”

Members of the joint committee heard testimony from policy and environmental experts and concerned New Jersey residents about how the state can effectively solve the issues of single-use plastic and plastic waste in a responsible manner that will minimize costs and inconveniences for its business owners.

Plastic bags and straws are made out of polypropylene, which create greenhouse gasses through their extraction and production. Greenhouse gasses are one of the primary contributors to climate change according to an overwhelming majority of climate scientists. Plastic bags and straws are not biodegradable, so they never truly breakdown. Since lightweight plastic items are able to travel long distances, they litter nearly all of our landscapes and oceans.

“Climate change is possibly the most pressing threat to New Jersey’s environmental health, and it affects all of us,” said Pinkin. “Protecting the only planet we call home should not be a partisan issue. In a state that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, we have seen firsthand how we can be affected by extreme weather. I am proud that New Jersey is taking the necessary steps to create a more environmentally friendly, sustainable future that will benefit all of our residents. While there is still much work to, I am confident that we will make New Jersey the most eco-friendly state.”