New Jersey’s ban on single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam went into effect today.  The law bans any store that is greater than 2500 square-feet in size or has a gross annual income of more than $500,000 from using plastic bags or polystyrene containers.  It also bans the sale of single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers.  Single-use paper bags will also be prohibited for both use and sale.

Styrofoam containers will no longer be allowed

Exceptions will be made for stores smaller than 2500 square-feet and store with less than $500,000 in gross annual income.  Further exceptions include, but are not limited to:

  • Bags used to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish, or poultry
  • 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
  • Newspaper bags
  • Trash bags
  • Meat & fish trays for raw or butchered meat (polystyrene)
  • Any food product pre-packaged by the manufacturer (polystyrene)

You will need to start bringing your own bags to many of the stores in which you shop, not just grocery stores, so be sure to keep them handy in the car or by the door.

Acceptable bags are ones made of cloth or hemp or any other washable fabric with stitched handles that will last for a minimum of 125 uses.

Hemp bags are acceptable and can be purchased at your local supermarket

Businesses will need to be careful about following this ban.  Penalties for non-compliance will be a warning for the first offense, $1,000/day for the second offense, and $5,000/day for the third and subsequent offenses.  Any business that cannot find a feasible alternative for a specific polystyrene product or one making less than $500,000 in gross annual income may apply for a waiver.

Find more detailed information, check out our previous post on the subject: “The 2022 NJ Plastic Bag/Styrofoam Ban: Clearly Explained, Designed to Help”.