NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas submitted testimony today on single-use plastics and plastic waste before a joint hearing of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee today in Toms River.

Amid a passed bill (A-3267/S2600) that would impose a 5-cent fee on single-use carryout bags, and additional bills introduced in the Legislature which call for a ban on single-use carryout bags and plastic straws, Buteas said plastic waste issues reach well beyond New Jersey and the United States.

New Jersey’s plastics industry is the 17th largest in the country and directly represents more than 18,000 workers in the state.

“While every nation must do its fair share in cleaning up this worldwide problem, we cannot expect the good people of our state to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the fiscal responsibility for the world’s bad actors,” Buteas said.

“To date, the state has not released any kind of analysis studying the impact of plastics as it relates to litter or other environmental concerns. We want to be sure that any measure impacting so many jobs will actually have the desired effect.”

She also said there is considerable room for improvement of New Jersey’s recycling efforts of all plastics by way of public education to reduce the amount of plastics from our state that ends up in landfills.  Increased investment in reuse and in recycling infrastructure could achieve the same environmental goals as other measures without unnecessarily harming the industry and its employees.

“Any state policy change on plastics should be phased in and should not be done in a piecemeal approach – municipality by municipality,” she said. “NJBIA believes we need a statewide policy that addresses these issues in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner, one that recognizes the need and desire for a clean environment and a healthy, growing economy.”

“NJBIA and our members share in society’s responsibilities to manage waste products and its impact on the health of our environment,” Buteas said. “At the same time, we know that we must advocate for those policies that will sustain and grow our economy.”

For a link to Buteas’ full testimony, visit here.