Will NJ ban non-flushable wipes? Senate panel advances new bill
Some New Jersey lawmakers were set on banning the sale of non-flushable disposable wipes entirely.
But it looks like they've settled on a milder proposal to try to limit the problems caused by the sewer-clogging products.
A proposed law advanced by the Senate Commerce Committee on Monday would just require that non-flushable wipes be properly marked "do not flush."
“I don’t think anyone is maliciously flushing wipes, but the reality is they can create costly blockages for both homeowners and municipalities,” said Sen. Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen, a sponsor of the measure. “Many people use disposable wipes in their everyday life, whether for cleaning, removing make-up or caring for a baby, and it is important they are aware of the proper way of disposing of them.”
The "do not flush" warning would have to cover at least 4% of the product's label, according to the measure. The legislation prohibits the sale of non-flushable disposable wipes that are not properly marked.
Violators could face a penalty of up to $5,000 for each offense, and each day a violating product is sold would count as a separate offense, the bill says.
Sen. Joseph Cryan, D-Union, another sponsor of the measure, originally put his name on a bill that would have banned non-flushable wipes from shelves altogether. According to New Jersey Monitor, Cryan recently conceded that it would have been ridiculous to prohibit the sale of such wipes.
The substitute bill advanced by lawmakers on Monday mirrors federal legislation and falls in line with moves made or being considered by other states in the U.S.
"It's a direct result of extensive industry negotiations with wastewater utilities, to reduce and eliminate the problems that are caused by these wipes ending up in our systems," Ben Graziano, director of policy for the Chemistry Council of New Jersey, told legislators.
Starting Dec. 31 in Colorado, manufacturers and retailers will be required to put the "do not flush" label on pre-moistened, non-woven disposable wipes.