Monmouth Beach, New Jersey has unanimously voted to implement a ban on single-use plastic bags, straws, food containers, and takeout Styrofoam boxes in the shore town. The ordinance was introduced last month and will take effect on June 1, 2018, when, as activists emphasize, the comprehensive plan to try and eliminate plastic waste will start benefiting one of the town’s most important assets, the beach.

Mayor Sue Howard hopes the new measure will prompt consumers to think twice before asking for a straw at a restaurant, App reports. “If all of the people in Monmouth Beach start thinking about what they are doing, and they themselves make changes, it can go far beyond the enforcement aspects of this ordinance,” Howard said.

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The town may only have a handful of restaurants downtown, but the ban is the most comprehensive plastic legislation in the area, if not the state, thanks to the action of the shore’s biggest environmental groups.

“We’re seeing a terrible trend and what we need is leadership like what we have tonight,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director at Clean Ocean Action.

The regulation was approved by the three-member commission with no voice of dissent from the audience. It does not include all retailers – dry cleaners and bait and tackle shops are exempt.

The ordinance was welcomed even by the business owners themselves – James Caverly, owner of My Kitchen Witch, said that the change was going to make things a little more difficult, but she was happy about the decision. Gina Mansfield, owner of Beach Tavern, which has already made a switch from plastic utensils and containers to sustainable alternatives, shared that the higher cost of sustainable options is better than the enormous environmental burden of non-essential plastic items.

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According to experts, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean, so if we want to keep our beaches and waters clean, we all need to step up. To learn what you can do to use and throw away less disposable plastic, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: Adrianna Calvo/Pexels

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