Public Info

Everyone Can #MakeOneChangeUC in 2020

Union County, NJ – As the 50th anniversary of Earth Day approaches, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders encourages everyone who lives, visits, or works in Union County to bring reusable bags to the grocery store instead of using single-use plastic bags. The reusable bag effort kicks off Union County’s yearlong #MakeOneChangeUC public education initiative, and it supports the statewide “Choose to Reuse” anti-litter campaign.

“Union County is launching #MakeOneChangeUC with a focus on single-use plastic bags because they are a widespread, persistent source of litter in the environment,” said Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella. “Everyone can contribute to the solution by choosing reusable bags over single-use bags.”

Union County often provides reusable tote bags free of charge at public events, as do many other local agencies, organizations and businesses. They are also available at nominal cost in many grocery stores.

On average, a plastic bag is used for only 12 minutes but plastic can linger in the environment for up to 1,000 years or more.

Union County is the first county in New Jersey to partner with the new statewide “Choose to Reuse” environmental initiative, aimed at reducing the amount of single-use bags in the waste stream.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more than 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. every year.

“Every time you ‘choose to reuse,’ you make a big difference,” said Mirabella.

The Choose to Reuse campaign is a project of the New Jersey Food Council and the New Jersey Clean Communities Council.

The Director of the Union County Bureau Recycling & Planning, JoAnn Gemenden, was instrumental in working on the “Choose to Reuse” campaign as head of the Education Committee and a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council. For more information about Choose to Reuse and #MakeOneChangeUC, members of the public can contact her at

More information on Union County recycling programs is available at For quick links to all Union County environmental events and activities visit The Green Connection,

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