Teaneck passes plastic bag fee ordinance

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Teaneck officials have passed a new ordinance that will charge shoppers who want to use plastic bags for their items.

The ordinance passed thanks to the work of a group of Girl Scouts. Troop 19 decided that they wanted to raise awareness about the potential harm plastic bags can cause the planet.

“They noticed them around the neighborhood,” says trooper leader Jean Myers. “We started doing research online, we invited all these different kinds of people in and they became more and more interested.”

The troop started passing out reusable bags and support for their project grew. Teaneck shoppers will have to pay 5 cents per plastic bag, beginning next year.

“It’s weird that we’re only 14 and we’ve already passed a law in Teaneck,” says Girl Scout Ella Myers. “We’re just really proud that we’ve gotten this far.

Reaction to the news of the ordinance is mixed among Teaneck residents.

"I think if you go to the grocery store and you have a lot of groceries, you can't possibly bring enough bags that are non-disposable,” says resident Linda Stock. “I think that would be very annoying but on the other hand, I think we are very wasteful."

Resident Deborah Blaiberg says that she wants to know where the collected funds will go.

"Where's the 5 cents going?  Is it going into the town coffers? Is it going to pay for the employees again or is it going to some kind of fund that goes toward the idea of recycling, gentrification, fixing the damage that's happened?" she asks.

Teaneck officials say that they hope the one year it takes to enact the law will give state legislators enough time to push through a similar bill.

Teaneck will be the second town in New Jersey to charge for plastic bags. Longport, in Atlantic County, passed a similar ordinance two years ago. That town charges 10 cents per bag.

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