The New Jersey plastic and polystyrene ban will take effect on May 4th, 2022. Single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam food containers will be prohibited under the ban, leaving businesses that currently use them, such as food and grocery businesses, the responsibility of finding alternatives. Single-use paper carryout bags will be allowed to be provided and sold, but not by grocery stores equal to or larger than 2500sq ft. Those stores must sell or provide reusable bags. Plastic straws will only be provided upon customer request after November 4th, 2021.
Plastic bags and Styrofoam containers make up a large portion of state landfills. They also poison soil and pollute our waterways. The fact that they require so much energy to produce in the first place makes them a de facto environmental villain. This most recent ban will seek to reduce the amount of that villain that is released into the Garden State and her landfills.
Acceptable materials will have to follow three main criteria:
- Reusable bags must be made of polypropylene fabric, PET non-woven fabric, cloth, hemp, or other washable fabric.
- They must have stitched handles, although T-shirt bags are ok.
- They must be designed and built for at least 125 uses.
There are three agencies under which this ban will be organized. They are as follows:
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP): in charge of overall implementation and enforcement.
New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC): in charge of communicating the requirements to businesses.
New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC): responsible for developing and implementing public information and an education program. They will also be giving out free bags.
If you would like further information, please visit Business.nj.gov. There you will find details about the law and will be able to read the law itself. You will find links to helpful tools and documents that will guide you through the next three years. You will also be able to find out whether you are impacted by this ban. The list of vendors supplying alternatives to the banned products is especially helpful.