Clearly Explained, Designed to Help.

Updated 1/9/22

Effective Date: 5/4/2022

  • Single use paper carryout bags banned as of 5/4/2022, but apply only to grocery stores larger than 2,500 sq. ft.  Packages of paper bags and lawn bags are still allowed to be sold.

This law will supersede any municipal or county law or regulation concerning these products.

Businesses Affected:

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Deli’s
  • Grocery Stores, >2,500 sq. ft & <2,500 sq. ft
  • Coffee Shops
  • Convenience Stores
  • Vending Trucks & Carts
  • Food Trucks
  • Movie Theaters
  • Business or Institutional Cafeterias
  • Pharmacies
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Liquor Stores
  • Drug Stores
  • Retail Stores
  • Hospital & Nursing Home Foodservice
  • Educational Foodservice

Exemptions from Plastic Bag Ban:

  • Bags used to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish, or poultry
  • Bags used to package loose items
  • Bags used to contain live animals
  • Bags used to contain food sliced or prepared to order, soup & hot food included
  • Laundry, dry cleaning, or garment bags
  • Bags provided by a pharmacy to carry
  • Newspaper bags
  • Trash bags
  • Any similar bag, as determined by the DEP

Exemptions from Styrofoam Ban (expires 5/4/2024):

  • Disposable, long-handled polystyrene foam soda spoons when required & used for thick drinks
  • Portion cups of 2oz. or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids
  • Meat & fish trays for raw or butchered meat, including poultry, or fish sold from a refrigerator
  • Any food product pre-packaged by the manufacturer with a polystyrene foam food service product
  • Any other polystyrene foam food service product determined necessary by the DEP

Plastic straws were prohibited as of 11/4/2021 and now shall only be provided upon request of the customer.  Stores may continue to sell packages of single-use plastic straws and provide/sell beverages pre-packaged by the manufacturer with a single-use straw, like a juice box.

Bags Approved for Use:

  • Those made of polypropylene fabric, PET non-woven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp, or other washable fabric that have stitched handles, and are designed and manufactured for at least 125 uses.

Penalties for non-compliance:

  • 1st offense = warning
  • 2nd offense = $1,000/day
  • 3rd and subsequent violations = $5,000/day

Enforcement will be carried out by the DEP, municipalities, and any entity certified pursuant to the “County Environmental Health Act”.  The Department of Health enforces the plastic straw portion of the law.

Exemptions and requests for waivers may be submitted to the DEP on prescribed forms.

Waivers may be requested for a period not to exceed one year upon determination that one of the following situations are met:

  • There is no feasible and commercially available alternative for a specific polystyrene foam food service product; or
  • The person or business has less than $500,000 in gross annual income and there is no reasonably affordable, commercially-available alternative to the polystyrene foam food service product.

Contacts and Further Resources:


NJDEP Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste

NJBAC Vendor List

NJ Clean Communities Council

Copy of the Law

NJ Food Supply