Free reusable totes available at BCB Bank branches in wake of plastic bag ban

The bags are free for all residents of Bayonne starting Feb. 24

(Left to Right) Business Administrator Terrence Malloy; Tom Coughlin, president of BCB Bank; Pam Sclafane, VP of BCB; and Mayor James Davis with the free vinyl tote bags available in BCB Bayonne branches.
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(Left to Right) Business Administrator Terrence Malloy; Tom Coughlin, president of BCB Bank; Pam Sclafane, VP of BCB; and Mayor James Davis with the free vinyl tote bags available in BCB Bayonne branches.

Free reusable tote bags will now be available to Bayonne residents as a result of the plastic bag ban that took effect this year.

BCB Community Bank has partnered with the City of Bayonne to help residents conveniently adapt to the city’s new ban on single-use plastic bags by providing free vinyl tote bags to any visitor to its Bayonne branches starting Feb. 24.

A new ordinance banning retail establishments from distributing single-use plastic bags to customers took effect in Bayonne on Jan. 1. When the new law went into effect, BCB was more than happy to help the community adjust, according to President and CEO of BCB Bank Thomas Coughlin.

Established in 2000 and headquartered in Bayonne, BCB Bank provides businesses and individuals a wide range of loans, deposit products, and retail and commercial banking services, according to a press release.

Coughlin said that the free tote bags are part of the banks continuing efforts to support Bayonne residents.

“As a community bank anchored in Bayonne, we have long been committed to helping the city’s residents in every way we can, supporting community causes and being a good corporate neighbor,” Coughlin said in a press release.

Coughlin reiterated his support for the plastic bag ban while highlighting the benefits of the free tote bag program.

“This is a double win. By providing residents with reusable tote bags for shopping, we are not only helping them but helping the environment, as well,” Coughlin said. “We fully support the City’s effort to make the city cleaner and greener.”

The free reusable tote bags are available at BCB Bank branches in Bayonne. According to BCB Bank, residents are not required to be BCB customers to receive free tote bags.

The plastic bag ban

Mayor James Davis previously announced that on Jan. 1, the city would take steps to curtail its environmental impact by banning plastic bags. Starting this year, a citywide ban will take effect on single-use, carryout plastic bags provided by retail establishments.

Bayonne is the third city in Hudson County to ban disposable plastic bags, followed by Secaucus. The ordinance was preceded by bans in Hoboken and Jersey City in early 2019.

The Hoboken ordinance also banned Styrofoam as the material is just as environmentally dangerous as plastic, if not more, because it can’t be recycled.

The ordinance reads, “No retail establishment shall provide any single-use, plastic carryout bags to a customer at the checkout stand, cash register, point of sale, or other point of departure for the purpose of transporting products or goods out of the business or store, except as otherwise provided.”

Under the new ordinance, retail establishments are also prohibited from selling or providing single-use plastic straws.

Exemptions

However, a few exceptions allow certain establishments to continue to sell plastic bags despite the potential environmental hazard.

According to the ordinance, single-use, plastic, and carryout bags may still be used by businesses or stores to sell bait. The new restrictions also don’t apply to items that need to be sold or delivered in plastic bags in compliance with food safety and disposal laws.

The ordinance states that bags used by customers to bring loose produce or products to the checkout are permitted, including bags used to contain or wrap frozen foods, meats, fish, or other items to prevent seepage.

Other plastic bags permitted at retail establishments are laundry bags, dry-cleaning bags, pharmacy prescription bags, and bags sold in bulk intended as garbage or waste bags.

Under the ordinance, retailers can sell only reusable bags, but establishments could also switch to recyclable paper bags.

Nothing in the ordinance prevents businesses from selling their own reusable bags, or customers from bringing their own reusable bags.

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Dan Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.