The New Jersey Food Council wants you to grab your reusable tote bags to use for your next grocery haul.
The organization launched its Choose to Reuse campaign at the annual Food Council Committee for Good Government Breakfast on Oct. 2 in Monroe.
“One of the biggest environmental challenges today is addressing disposable items, such as single-use plastic and paper bags,” noted NJFC President Linda Doherty at the event.
The campaign aims to educate and remind consumers about sustainability options at checkout, she said.
Americans use billions of plastic bags a year according to Waste Management, typically for under an hour each. With only 1 percent of plastic bags returned for recycling, many end up littered on land and in water ways. Plastic bags kill an estimated 100,000 marine animals each year due, WM said.
New Jersey Clean Communities Executive Director Sandy Huber called the campaign “a great opportunity to engage consumers by offering them simple steps they can take to fight litter and waste in their communities.” NJCC is a statewide litter abatement program established by the Clean Communities Act in 1986, which provides funding through a tax on 15 categories of businesses that may produce litter-generating products. The NJCC generates about $20 million annually to clean up municipalities, counties and state parks.
A Monmouth University poll released this week found that 65 percent of New Jerseyans support a statewide plastic bag policy.
The campaign also urges consumers to reduce their consumption of single-use plastic bags and to recycle them. Plastic bags are recyclable at approximately 18,000 retail locations nationwide, and this November, Bradley Beach is set to become the first municipality in the state to offer a curbside plastic bag and film recycling program.