Hughes promotes tote bag giveaway to local nonprofits

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mercer county new jersey - the capital county - brian m hughes county executive

Mercer tote bag giveaway aims to end plastic

Reusable bag

Initiative launched in advance of state's
new 'Pollution Reduction' Act

As part of the Mercer County's ongoing commitment to sustainable practices, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes' Planning Department, with support from the Office of Economic Development, provided several food pantries in the County with reusable shopping bags and education on New Jersey’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act. Single-use plastics are plastic goods that are designed to be used once before they are thrown away or recycled. When New Jersey’s Plastic Pollution Reduction Act comes fully into effect in May 2022, most stores will no longer be able to provide or sell single-use bags or polystyrene to patrons. The Planning Department partnered with the following agencies to ensure that Mercer County residents who use their services have access to a reusable bag and are prepared for the changes:

  • Arm In Arm – 900 reusable bags
  • Rise -- 300 reusable bags
  • HomeFront – 400 reusable bags
  • Jewish Family and Children Services – 400 reusable bags
  • Mt. Carmel Guild – 100 reusable bags
  • Mercer Street Friends – 600 reusable bags

In 2014 in an effort to curb reliance on single-use plastic bags, County Executive Hughes put to a referendum a measure asking voters to support a 5-cent fee for each single-use plastic bag provided when shopping. Although the measure did not pass, Mr. Hughes has long been a proponent of people curbing their over-reliance on single-use plastic bags in favor of reusable bags. 

"Plastic grocery and shopping bags may offer short-term convenience, but they have long-term costs," Mr. Hughes said. "Not only do single-use bags require resources such as petroleum and natural gas to manufacture, their disposal presents a number of problems as well. Plastic bags are extremely lightweight and can act like balloons blowing out of garbage trucks and landfills. They litter our parks and trees, enter storm drains and can eventually end up in our streams, rivers and oceans, where they break into small, toxic pieces, killing marine life and birds."

Plastic reduction educational information

Mercer Sustainability Newsletter