Reduce Your Use – The 2015 Farmers Market “plastic shopping bag” policy

Don’t forget your reusable bags, baskets, and containers when you shop the 2015 Brigantine Farmers Market. The Green Team and Farmers Market sub-committee are pleased to announce that the 2015 Brigantine Farmers Market will be FREE of plastic bags*!!! Stay tuned for more information. Our “bag” task force is currently working on an educational and promotional plan to get the word out to community and Market customers before the May 23, 2015 Opening Day.

The following is the Vendor no “plastic shopping bag” or “single-use plastic bag” policy being provided to Vendors upon acceptance into the Market:

2015 Brigantine Farmers Market
Vendors – Plastic Shopping Bag Policy
(Rule #17 – Farmers Market Application)
The following policy is effective for the 2015 Farmers Market season. Any violations will be addressed in accordance with the Farmers Market Application Rule #14, Vendor Conduct.  All questions should be first directed to the Market Manager, David Roantree, at brigantinefarmersmarket@gmail.com.
1. No single use plastic shopping bags are permitted at the Market.
(*There is an exception for fish/seafood and meat vendors using ice to package their product.)
2. “Biodegradable”** plastic shopping bags are not permitted.
3. Paper bags are permissible.
4. Vendors can charge a fee for paper bags.
5. We are encouraging customers to bring their own reusable bags. So please ask, “Did you bring your own bag?”
**At this time we do not feel biodegradable bags are a suitable alternative based on the fact that many people in our area are not habitually bringing compost to an industrial compost facility. The majority of biodegradable bags will not break down in your home composter. And most importantly, they will not break down in a landfill.  Like all things placed in an anaerobic (air-locked) landfill and deprived of oxygen and the existence of the micro-organisms that “eat” naturally biodegradable materials, their ability to decompose is now restricted. This includes food waste, paper, and all else. 
There has been a great deal of discussion and debate over the years in Brigantine regarding instituting a single-use plastic shopping bag ordinance. The Brigantine Green Team and its Farmers Market Committee, like many local organizations and concerned individuals support an ordinance to help reduce the use of plastic bags. This is a sensitive issue many municipalities across our nation are facing, and one reason is the uncertainty of “how will consumers react?”
Putting this policy in place will help us drive support for a city-wide ordinance. We will help vendors with the transition and monitor and evaluate the results for presentation to City Council in the fall.
The Brigantine Farmers Market is a successful event, proven and supported by its weekly Market attendance. We strongly believe with the right combination of educational and marketing efforts  to promote the policy in advance of the Market opening and throughout the season, coupled with our vendor’s cooperation, will successfully show that a single-use plastic shopping bag ban  does not deter Market attendance or consumer purchases.
With Brigantine bordering New Jersey’s largest coastal wildlife refuge and home to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, it would be an honor to bring this change to our community and demonstrate to neighboring communities this is possible.  We cannot do this without your help.  THANK YOU!
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