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Glen Rock

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Phone: (201) 670-3956

Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance

Flier for cashiers w reusable bag

For Glen Rock BUSINESSES: 
if you are interested in donating reusable bags with your logo please click HERE.

Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance (click here for the full ordinance)

For Glen Rock RESIDENTS:

reusable bag drawing

Understanding the Single-Use Plastic Bag Ordinance



(courtesy of the Glen Rock Environmental Commission) 

1.  Why is this ordinance important? 
While most thin plastic bags are typically used for minutes, they will be around for 500+ years, and even longer in landfills.Some thin plastic bags are reused multiple times, but Glen Rock’s experience with Plastic Film Recycling in the spring of 2018 showed that similar to a lot of other places, most people in our community have an excess of plastic bags, which are not usually recycled and normally end up as garbage. Plastic bags that end up mixed with other recyclables are also a major contaminant at recycling facilities, leading to daily stoppages of the recycling plant’s mechanical sorting equipment when they become entangled in gears.

Plastic bags can be found in abundance in our landfills, neighborhoods and waterways. They do not biodegrade and even when they break down, it is into smaller pieces of plastic. Plastic pollution, and thin plastic bags in particular, pose a large and growing hazard to wildlife, and habitats including the marine environment. Plastic trash and particles are now found in most marine and terrestrial habitats, from the deep sea to neighborhood ponds. According to the EPA, plastics are both  physical and chemical threats to wildlife, especially marine animals[1]. Several reports also indicate toxic effects of plastic on human health[2].  To reduce the harm, we need to change our habits and reduce the use of single-use plastic, beginning with single-use plastic bags.

2.  When does it go into effect? 
January 1st, 2020

3.  What bags are banned?
All single-use plastic carry-out bags that are less than 2.25 mils thick, including “biodegradable” or “compostable” plastic, and non-recyclable paper bags.

4.  Why are retailers asked to charge for a paper bag?
While the impact of single-use plastic bags on the environment is high, paper bags have significant impacts of their own. Paper bags avoid plastic bags’ impact on the marine environment and are more easily biodegradable. However, they can be more resource-intensive in some ways than plastic bags. For example, paper bags are six to ten times heavier than lightweight plastic bags, and so the environmental impact, and monetary cost, of transporting them is higher. Paper bag manufacture is also much more resource-intensive than plastic bag manufacture, resulting in a 3-4 times higher greenhouse gas emissions  and 10 times higher water consumption when compared to plastic. They are not always made from recycled materials, nor are they recycled at a rate of 100%.Therefore, the ordinance aims to reduce use of all single-use bags, including paper bags, and encourages the use of multiple-use reusable bags.

5.  Will produce bags be allowed?
Yes, bags used within the store (such as to contain produce, meat, or bulk goods), rather than provided at checkout, will be allowed. The ordinance allows for the bags that are used to:

  • package bulk items, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candies, or small hardware items;
  • contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish, whether packaged or not;
  • contain or wrap flowers, potted plants, or other items where dampness may be an issue;
  • contain unwrapped prepared foods or bakery goods, or
  • contain prescription drugs.

The ordinance also exempts newspaper bags, door-hanger bags, laundry and/or dry-cleaning bags, or bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as food storage bags, garbage bags, yard waste bags, or pet waste bags.

6.  What about dog waste bags?
The ordinance only affects bags provided at check-out. Stores may continue to sell packages of bags such as garbage bags, food storage bags, yard waste bags, or pet waste bags without adding any additional fee beyond their usual sale price. 

7.  What about dry cleaner bags?
Dry cleaner and laundry bags are exempt.

8. What about prescription bags?
Plastic and paper prescription bags are exempt from the fee.

9.  What about restaurant delivery bags? Will they automatically charge me? 
Yes, the regulations apply to bags used for take-out and/or deliveries. This means that take-out and/or delivery bags may not be single-use plastic bags, and that there would be a fee for any paper or reusable bags provided by the restaurant or other retail store.

10.  Are any carry-out bags free?
Yes: small recyclable paper bags (8 by 16 inches or smaller) without handles are exempt from any fee. In addition, bags such as produce bags and certain others are not covered by the ordinance (see above). If you do not have a reusable bag and would like one for free, while supplies last, please contact the Glen Rock Environmental Commission at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

11.  What if I bring my own single-use plastic bags to the store?
The ordinance specifically affects businesses and prohibits them  from providing single-use plastic bags. However, customers are still allowed to use them and bring them to the store if they please. If you bring your own reusable bags, then you do not have to pay the fee. If you bring your own single-use plastic bags from home, the retailer or grocery store should not give you an issue. The goal is to reduce single-use plastic bag use and consumption. 

12.  How will this affect businesses? Who gets the fee?
Most people are aware of the devastating effects that single use plastic bags have on the environment, on wildlife and on our health. The intent of this ordinance is for us as a community to reduce pollution and shrink our environmental impact. We think that by embracing this effort to reduce plastic pollution, both businesses and consumers will feel empowered. At the same time, we want to be mindful of our small businesses. This is why the ordinance lets the business set and keep its own fee (of at least 10 cents per bag). If a customer requests a carry-out bag (paper or reusable), the entire fee is retained by the business. Businesses are highly encouraged to educate their staff to promote customers to bring their own bags. The Glen Rock Environmental Commission can help with this.

13.  Where can I get reusable bags?
If you do not have a reusable bag and would like one for free please contact GREC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (while supplies last). In addition, reusable bags may be purchased at many stores (often including grocery stores, pharmacies, and others) as well as online.

14.  I use plastic bags from grocery stores for household garbage. What alternatives do you suggest?
For some small wastebaskets, you may be able to use a paper bag or avoid the liner altogether (or reuse a single bag many times), and empty the wastebasket’s contents into, for example, a larger kitchen trash bin when necessary.

15.  What other towns have done this?
At least 27 towns or counties in NJ[3]  including Ridgewood, have passed ordinances regulating single-use carry-out plastic bags. Furthermore, additional municipalities, including neighboring towns in Bergen county, are considering adopting an ordinance. 



[3] These towns/counties are: Atlantic County (for county parks), Avalon, Beach Haven, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Brigantine Beach, Harvey Cedars, Highland Park, Hoboken, Hopewell Borough, Jersey City, Lambertville, Long Beach, Longport, Maplewood, Monmouth Beach, Ocean Gate, Parsippany, Point Pleasant Beach, Ridgewood, Somers Point, Stafford Township, Stone Harbor, Teaneck, and Ventnor.

Survey to Glen Rock Businesses on Plastic Bags – Dec 2018