November 04, 2020
Starting in May 2022, single-use paper and plastic bags will be outlawed in all stores and food service businesses across New Jersey after Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation approving the measure on Wednesday.
As New Jersey does away with plastic and paper bags to reduce pollution, the state will begin a shift towards reusable bags. Disposable food containers and cups made from polystyrene foam will also be banned starting in May 2022.
Food service businesses will be permitted to provide single-use plastic straws only upon request starting in November 2021.
A number of products will be exempt from the ban until 2024. Those items include disposable polystyrene plastic soda spoons when required for certain drinks, cups of two ounces or less if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids, trays for raw or butchered meat, poultry, or fish that is sold from a refrigerator, any food item pre-packaged by a manufacturer with a polystyrene foam food service product, and any other polystyrene foam food service product as determined necessary by the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Murphy said that the bill is a "significant step to reduce harm and pollution that these products cause to our environment."
"Plastic bags are one of the most problematic forms of garbage, leading to millions of discarded bags that stream annually into our landfills, rivers, and oceans," Murphy said.
"With today's historic bill signing, we are addressing the problem of plastic pollution head-on with solutions that will help mitigate climate change and strengthen our environment for future generations."
The bill was passed by the state legislature in September.
"From our cities to our shores, single-use plastic bags unnecessarily litter New Jersey's most treasured spaces and pollute our ecosystems," New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe said.
"By banning single-use plastic bags, Governor Murphy and our legislature continue to make New Jersey a national leader in environmental protection and the DEP stands ready to implement these new measures and educate the public."