[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Maplewood 6-5-1990 as Ord. No. 1827. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Township Committee of the Township of Maplewood finds and declares as follows:
That the chemical composition and ability of a substance to degrade are meaningful and useful criteria to focus upon when establishing public policy that is intended to improve the management and disposal of solid waste, reduce the cumulative impact of litter, encourage composting and other forms of recycling, minimize the potential for toxic substances to form if solid waste is burned, reduce the volume of ash by-products that may be created by any burning of waste-plastic packaging and otherwise anticipate environmental problems that may be caused by a municipal solid waste disposal program.
That the widespread use of plastics, especially polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride, poses a threat to the environment by causing unnecessary taking of landfill space or, when incinerated, by the possible introduction of toxic by-products into the atmosphere.
That the economic and environmental problems associated with a mixed-substance waste stream are so severe that a program to modify the composition of solid waste, thereby reducing environmental hazards and toxicity associated with solid waste incineration, encouraging the composting of putrescible biodegradable wastes and encouraging other forms of recycling of solid waste substances, is hereby determined to be a policy goal of the Township of Maplewood.
That certain retail establishments within Maplewood are points of origin for a volume of packaging waste and, therefore, are particularly susceptible to actions which have significant potential for simplifying the composition of this portion of Maplewood's solid waste stream, thereby improving solid waste management within this township.
That the use of polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride for food packaging is problematical because neither of these plastics are readily recyclable; that their abundant commercial use in lieu of other plastics, such as polyethylene or polypropylene, unnecessarily complicates the overall chemical composition of municipal waste and subtracts from the possible emergence of a viable plastic recycling market; and that, if burned together, polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride leave a relatively heavier and therefore more expensive ash residue to dispose of, which may also create dioxin, hydrochloric acid or other toxic chemicals that could be emitted into the general environment of the Township of Maplewood once burned in the resource recovery facility now under construction.
That there are readily available plastic and/or paper product substitutes for most of the polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride retail food packaging now being used in the Township of Maplewood, the use of which alternatives would be environmentally and economically advantageous to the public of the Township of Maplewood.
That plastic bags in the waste stream constitute an impediment to the development of efficient waste separation, recycling or other waste management programs and are less desirable than paper bags because plastic bags are neither recyclable nor compostable.
That plastic bags used by retail establishments selling food constitute the largest single retail source of plastic bags in the waste stream.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is, to the maximum extent practicable, to eliminate the use of nondegradable packaging originating at retail establishments within the Township of Maplewood in order to protect the air, land and waters of the Township of Maplewood against environmental contamination and degradation.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- DEGRADABLE PACKAGING
- Packaging made of cellulose-based or other substances that are capable of being readily attached, decomposed, assimilated and otherwise completely oxidized or broken down by bacteria or other natural biological organisms into carbonaceous soil material or water and carbon dioxide or, in the alternate, capable of otherwise degrading within twelve (12) months of manufacture into fragments that are small relative to the original size or into particles of a molecular weight that is low when compared to that of the original material.
- All food-related wrappings, adhesives, cords, binding, bags, boxes, containers and disposable or nonreusable plates, cups or drinking utensils intended for use with the Township of Maplewood.
- RETAIL FOOD ESTABLISHMENT
- All sales outlets, stores, shops or other places of business located within the Township of Maplewood which operates primarily to sell or convey food directly to the ultimate consumer, which foods are predominantly contained, wrapped or held in or on packaging. "Retail food establishment" shall include but not be limited to any place where food is prepared, mixed, cooked, baked, smoked, preserved, bottled, packaged, handled, stored, manufactured and sold or offered for sale, including but not limited to any fixed or mobile restaurant, drive-in, coffee shop, cafeteria, short order cafe, fast-food outlet, delicatessen, luncheonette, grill, sandwich shop, soda fountain, tavern, bar, cocktail lounge, nightclub, roadside stand, take-out prepared food place, industrial feeding establishment, catering kitchen, grocery store, public food market, food stand or similar place in which food or drink is prepared for sale or for service on the premises or elsewhere and any other establishment or operation, including homes, where food is processed, prepared, stored, served or provided for the public for charge.
No retail food establishment located and doing business within the Township of Maplewood shall sell or convey food directly to ultimate consumers within the Township of Maplewood unless such food is placed, wrapped or packaged in degradable packaging at the conclusion of a sales transaction for the purchase of such food, which takes place on the premises of such a retail food establishment at or near a sales counter or equivalent customer purchasing station, but prior to removal of such food from the premises of such retail food establishment.
No retail food establishment located and doing business within the Township of Maplewood shall sell, give or provide eating utensils or food containers to any consumers within the Township of Maplewood if such eating utensil or food container is composed of polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride.
The Township of Maplewood shall not purchase any food packaging which contains polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride, nor shall it sponsor any event which utilizes such packaging. All food packaging shall be biodegradable and/or photodegradable.
Additionally, the purchasing agent shall exclusively advertise for the receipt of bids for degradable plastic bags for use by the township.
The Township Business Administrator shall issue and promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement and carry out the provisions of this chapter.
Section 189-3 of this chapter shall not apply to the following items:
Any flexible transparent covering for uncooked or raw meat, poultry, raw fish, hard cheese, cold cuts, fruit and vegetable products, baked goods or bread.
Any food packaging used at hospitals or nursing homes.
Any paper or other cellulose-based packaging that is coated with polyethylene plastic on only one (1) side.
Any plastic covers, covering material, food containers, lids, eating utensils or straws that are not made of polystyrene or polyvinyl chloride.
The Township Business Administrator or his authorized representative may exempt an item or type of packaging from the requirements of this chapter upon a showing that the items or type would cause undue hardship. Said documentation shall include a list of suppliers contracted to determine if substitutes are available.
The Township Engineer, the Township Construction Official, the Director of the Township Department of Health and all employees of the Engineering, Building and Health Departments so designated by the respective heads of those departments, all municipal elected officials and all law enforcement officers and all investigators of the Department of Police and the Director of the Department of Fire and all employees so authorized by the Director of the Department of Fire are hereby authorized and empowered to perform as law enforcement officers solely with respect to the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter by being empowered to issue summons for any violation thereof in accordance with the rules governing the courts of the State of New Jersey.
Any person found guilty of violating any provision of this chapter shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.). There shall be a minimum fine of one hundred dollars ($100.) for each violation of the provisions of this chapter when such violation involves a commercial source or trade waste. Each violation and each day a violation is committed or permitted to continue shall constitute a separate violation and shall be punishable as such.
This chapter shall be void upon the enactment or adoption of any federal and/or state law or regulation restricting the use of polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride or degradable packaging.
This chapter shall take effect upon final passage and publication according to law but shall apply to retail transactions consummated on or after December 8, 1990.
The adoption of this chapter will simplify solid waste management by requiring uniform packaging practices within the township.