BagA stray bag flutters along Monmouth Street in September.

Six weeks after it was tabled amid concerns about its financial impacts on stores, a proposed ban on plastic shopping bags is back before the Red Bank Council tonight.

The law, the wording of which appears unchanged since it was derailed in September, would ban store distribution of plastic checkout bags starting July 1, 2009, and carry fines of up to $500 for multiple violations. Here’s the text: Download 200820_111008.pdf

Councilman Mike DuPont, the law’s sponsor, says the ban is accommodating to business owners in that “it gives them until next July” to restructure their systems to encourage greater use of sturdier reusable bags.

But Phil Scaduto, vice president of Food Circus, owner of the SuperFoodtown store on Broad Street, is feeling sandbagged.

“I thought, after the last meeting on the issue, that the council agreed to reconsider the ban and to reach out to businesses and the evironmental community to talk about recycling” of plastic bags, he tells redbankgreen. “That never happened.”

He adds that the council gave him the impression it would convene various interests on the issue with the aim of “keeping Red Bank environmentally friendly and green as well as economically friendly and viable. Didn’t occur,” he says.

The reinitroduction would appear to suggest that DuPont is confident he has overcome resistance to the ban voiced by some fellow members of his Democratic majority. He says he still expects Republicans Grace Cangemi and Jim Giannell to oppose the ban.

Any legislation would put Red Bank in company with major municipalities trying to limit bag proliferation on at least two continents.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg last week proposed a six-cents-per-bag “fee” — city officials insist it isn’t a tax, which would require City Council approval, whereas a fee is subject to approval by legislators in Albany.

From last Thursday’s New York Times:

If the proposal passes, New York City would follow the lead of many European countries and become one of the first places in the United States to assess a so-called plastic bag tax.

Seattle voters will weigh in on a similar measure next year, and other places, like Los Angeles and Dallas, have studied the idea.

Scaduto says he is unable to attend tonight’s meeting because of a personal obligation, but that a representative of the New Jersey Food Council and other industry associations plan to be there.

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