On Wednesday, Big Easy hosted Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora to start innovation to make Trenton more eco-friendly. As part of the initiative to eliminate plastic pollution in the environment, New Jersey will ban single-use plastic carryout bags, polystyrene foam foodservice products, and paper carryout bags and limit plastic straws to by-request-only. The ban will go into effect on May 4, 2022. The Department of Economic Development decided to donate 50 re-usable bags to different businesses across Trenton to follow the state mandates. 

“We wanted to figure out how we could help businesses make that transition because it’s not easy,” said Eric Maywar, a specialist at Business Attraction, Retention, Expansion Division of Economic Development. “Especially for restaurants, (they) have to worry about not using the plastic bags, not using the plastic straws, and how are they going to do the to-go plates with food all that has to change.”

This led the department to reach out to business owners like Jocelyn White, Owner of Big Easy of Trenton. She explained that when she heard the news, she was more than ready to receive the donation of reusable bags. “Of course I was interested,” White said, “because it’s like a panic, where are you going to get the supplies from? With the pandemic, the supply chain is a nightmare. It’s horrendous. So I was really excited.”

The ban was designed to address the problem of plastic pollution with solutions to protect the environment for future generations. In 2017, only 8.4 percent of plastics in the United States were recycled. Most single-use plastic carryout bags arrive in landfills, are incinerated, or accumulate in the environment.

Mayor Gusciora explained that this is just a step to making Trenton more eco-friendly. “Every bag that stays in people’s hands is one less that goes into landfills…we always are vigilant against unusable items that end up in the streets and on the sidewalk. So this is a great way of partnering with downtown stores so that they could use reusable bags and then distribute them into the community.” said Mayor Gusciora.