Finally, below, please find letter that ANJEC sent out to all municipalities. Several NJ municipalities received a letter from the NJ Food Council blatantly lying saying that a plastic bag ban is in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders re: the pandemic.
Update on Plastic Pollution Reduction During Covid-19
Dear ANJEC Friends,
It has come to our attention that your mayor may have received a letter from Linda Doherty, President and CEO of the New Jersey Food Council regarding single-use plastic bag ordinances. That letter is filled with misleading and baseless claims and should be read with great skepticism.
The Food Council’s letter is an awful example of fear mongering in a time where there are far too many unknowns. If your municipality is concerned about supply-chain issues for plastic and paper bags, we recommend encouraging your residents to bring reusable bags. At this time, there is no evidence stating that a single-use bag is safer than a reusable bag. To claim that one type of bag is safer than another is irresponsible and lacks scientific backing. For more information on how this virus stays on plastics and other surfaces, click here to review a recent scientific study from the New England Journal of Medicine.
We encourage everyone to follow the CDC guidelines and best practices for protecting yourself from COVID-19 found here, including hand washing and social distancing. We also encourage folks concerned about grocery shopping and coronavirus to wash their reusable bags as you would any other washable household item.
There is no rational reason anyone should think using a clean reusable bag from home is less safe than a single-use plastic one from the store. With clean reusable bags there is a clear chain of custody; individuals carry, pack, and clean their own bags, whereas an untold number of people handle the bundles of single use bags. After consulting with physicians, it is also our understanding that a reusable bag poses no additional risk to a cashier who is handling thousands of store items touched by thousands of individuals as well as cash and credit cards.
Climate change and plastic pollution are ongoing crises, and they are connected. However, you can help while maintaining public health and safety. Together, we can continue to fight the scourge of single-use plastic responsibly. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer M. Coffey ,Executive Director
ANJEC, (Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions)