Hoboken bids good-bye to plastic bags

Mayor Ravi Bhalla at All Saints Episcopal Day School, thanking students for successfully lobbying for a plastic-bag ban.

The ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect in Hoboken on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

All retail and food establishments are now prohibited from providing single-use plastic carryout bags to customers.  Hoboken is the largest municipality in the state of New Jersey to enact the bag ban, and the first in Hudson County, according to a press release from the city.

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To help raise awareness of the new regulations, Mayor Ravi Bhalla visited various local businesses, including Little City Books, Sobsey’s, Tunes, Organic Basic Foods, and ShopRite to thank them for complying with the ban.

“Improving our local environment starts with a partnership with our business community,” said Bhalla in a press release. “I thank each and every Hoboken establishment, both big and small, for adopting our new regulations to eliminate our reliance on harmful plastic bags.

Bhalla also visited All Saints Episcopal Day School to meet with students in third through eighth grades to thank them for their environmental efforts including speaking at council meetings on behalf of a ban on plastic bags in the city.

All Saints students began researching the impact of plastic bags on the environment in 2014, and multiple grades in recent years presented proposals to the city council to ban plastic bags.

“This ban is in large part thanks to the advocacy of students from our local schools, especially All Saints,” said Bhalla in the press release. “When I was on the city council, I took to heart the request from our young activists, who wanted to reduce pollution in Hoboken and improve our city. Their effective lobbying campaign demonstrates that speaking out for positive change at any age can truly make a difference.”

“After researching the effects of plastic-bag usage, I notice that fourth-grade students are taking a proactive role in reducing their own plastic use,” said Colleen Nguyen, a fourth-grade teacher at All Saints. “Also, when they spot a plastic bag on the street, they no longer walk by it. Instead, I am handed plastic bags on a regular basis by our fourth-grade students who are eager to truly make the world a better place.”

The ban was originally drafted by Councilman Jim Doyle and the Hoboken Green Team, and was passed by the council and signed into law by Mayor Bhalla on June 22.

For more on the plastic bag ban check out our Jan. 17 story “Don’t forget your tote.”