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OC Chamber Statement on Use of Plastic Bags

The Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Ocean City School System, the City of Ocean City, Cape May County and the Ocean City Environmental Commission to implement an educational program on the importance of environmental issues such as recycling plastic bags.

The Chamber does not believe legislation or an ordinance is the proper course of action to reduce the use of plastic bags. The Chamber believes in educating the public and assisting in communicating sensible recycling and alternatives to plastic bags.

Plastic bags are a major component of litter and one of the strategic objectives of recycling is the reduction of litter. The reduction of litter, in turn, keeps our roadways, streams, open spaces and marine environment cleaner and safer. Litter can be a public health hazard and a danger to wildlife.

The only way to curb littering is to change human behavior through education. By simply banning the use of plastic bags, we are failing to address human behavior. This false sense of accomplishment is not a corrective action. The Chamber feels the sound approach is to help educate the public and support the use of reusable bags and recycling.

So, what can you do?

As a consumer:

  1. Use reusable canvas or cloth bags. Reusable bags are more environmentally friendly than paper or plastic. Many grocery and big box stores now offer reusable bags for sale. Keep them in your car for the next time you have to run out for groceries.
  2. Say "No thank you." Not all items require a bag so tell the clerk, "No thank you." Carry small purchase items like a magazine, one piece of candy, or drink to the car instead of in a plastic bag.
  3. Recycle! Bring those plastic bags to the car and recycle them next time you go to the store.
  4. Reuse them. There are many great uses for plastic grocery bags such as trash can liners in the home or for doggie waste. Get creative and find new ways to reuse those bags.
  5. Tell a friend. Get others to recycle and use reusable bags. Let them know where they can find them or turn them on to recycling opportunities at their nearest grocery store.

As a business:

  1. Offer reusable bags As a business, offer your customers reusable bags, canvas or cloth, with your logo. It helps the environment AND advertises your business.
  2. Ask the Customer Ask customers if they would like a bag. Often, it is not even necessary.
  3. Offer financial incentives Offer your customers a small $.02 discount if they bring their own bag.
  4. Fundraise! Sell reusable bags to support a local charity.
  5. Educate Inform your customers of the importance of using reusable and cloth bags.