What to Know
- Atlantic County freeholders approved the ban on plastics in public parks on Tuesday.
- For the next year, violators will be given a warning for breaking the rule.
- After the first year, visitors may be fined up to $500 for use of single-use plastic bags and straws at the park.
Several of New Jersey's parks just got a bit greener by banning plastic straws and bags in public parks.
An ordinance passed Tuesday by the Atlantic County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced restrictions on single-use plastic bags and straws in the area's 7,000-acre park system.
"Most single-use plastics are not biodegradable and do not often make it to landfills," county executive Dennis Levinson said statement. "Instead, they litter our rivers, lakes, streams, oceans and bays as well as our beaches and forests — the natural resources that enhance the quality of life of our residents and help attract millions of visitors to our region."
Atlantic County joins other counties in a statewide trend toward environmental protections. Hudson County, Jersey City and Hoboken have already adopted plastic bag bans imposed on retail stores.
New Jersey shore towns have also taken steps to keep the plastic away from their beaches. Long Beach, Belmar and Point Pleasant Beach have all banned single-use plastic bags. Teaneck, Longport, and Ventnor have each imposed a tax on plastic bags ranging from $0.5 to $0.10 per bag.
As part of the public parks ban, Atlantic County will be issuing warnings for violators over the next year. After that period, fines up to $500 will be issued to those using the plastic items at the park.
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The trend towards eliminating plastic straws has quickly moved across the country in recent months. Earlier this week, officials in San Francisco proposed a citywide ban on plastic straws.
Companies have responded by imposing there own deadlines to eliminate plastic straws. Starbucks drew attention earlier this month by announcing an elimination of straws company wide by 2020.