Lambertville spreads the word about new single-use plastic ordinance

BY Michael Aron, Chief Political Correspondent |

Lambertville is a progressive town on the Delaware River that recently joined the movement to ban single-use plastic bags because they harm the environment. The Lambertville Environmental Commission hosted what it called a sustainable business forum Wednesday to spread the word about the new ordinance.

“We are working with our local businesses and residents to minimize the use of single-use plastics in our city. The purpose of our forum today is to talk to our local businesses about alternatives to plastics in order to prepare them for the ordinance that we passed last year to go into effect in January 2020,” said Liz Magil Peer, chair of Lambertville’s Environmental Commission.

The ordinance bans single-use plastic bags, Styrofoam and polystyrene foam containers, and plastic straws unless a customer requests one. Several vendors were on hand to offer some eco-friendly products.

“In here are to-go containers that you can put their food into. We also have compostable cutlery and some paper straws,” said Mike McLaughlin, a sales representative for Crest Paper Products.

Dan Whitaker co-owns Lambertville Station restaurant and hotel.

“We’re very environmentally conscious. We went with the paper straws, changed our takeout bags, and we’re looking at whatever else that’s new in the market that we can do to cut down the waste,” he said.

Dean Stephens owns Lambertville Trading Company, a coffee bar, and came to the forum for several reasons.

“One, to learn and exchange ideas and talk. The other to look for a coffee cups and lids for our hot coffee. We do about 50,000 cups a year and we would love to find a compostable cup and compostable lid,” Stephens said.

Debbie Classon owns Homestead Farm Market and is looking for a new bag.

“The T-shirt bags, because they look like a T-shirt, so this is a 100% recyclable T-shirt bag so I was hoping to find a vendor here who might carry something like that,” said Classon.

A $20,000 grant from a public-private partnership called Sustainable Jersey is helping Lambertville roll out the new ordinance.

“We are going to canvas the entire city. We’re going to knock on every door in the city of Lambertville, talk about this ordinance, talk about the importance of being a good ally to your local businesses and bringing your reusable cups when you get coffee, bringing your reusable bag when you go shopping,” said Peer.

A statewide ban on plastic bags has stalled in the Legislature, but 19 towns have bans in effect and 10 have bans pending. Eighteen towns are considering it according to a report by NJ Advance Media.