STAFFORD – After months of fine-tuning, the Stafford Township Council finally approved their ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags, after reintroducing the ordinance at last month’s meeting.
The ordinance was first introduced in February of this year. After facing some opposition from residents, the council decided to hold off on introducing it and made plans to discuss the proposal with local businesses. Following about four months of working on the original proposal, the council decided it was time to reintroduce the idea during their June meeting.
“We took great care to contact all the businesses in the town, get feedback from them, and work with them to get the ordinance where we need it to be so it can work for everybody,” said Mayor John Spodofora during the reintroduction.
While residents should prepare to have their reusable canvas bags handy, there are some exceptions to the ban that are worth noting.
The new and improved ordinance does not ban all plastic, but rather, focuses on banning those types that are single-use and avoidable.
Exceptions include plastics such as bags used for medical purposes, bags for produce, meat, fish, poultry, frozen foods, bags used for live fish, bags used to deliver newspapers, dry cleaner or door-hanger garment bags, garbage can liners, and bags used to deliver food items to customers in a food assistance program.
The essence of the proposal, however, remains the same.
Spodofora and the council members have continually stressed that the ban will be a good step towards protecting our local shore environment, and keeping plastics out of our oceans and bays.
“It’s a big concern…Somebody has to take the responsibility to make this step,” said Spodofora.
Councilman David Taylor stated during a previous meeting, “It has to start somewhere.”
Spodofora noted that he hopes Stafford’s efforts will spark a change in other municipalities, or even counties and states, for the better.