Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed legislation yesterday prohibiting single-use paper and plastic bags in all stores and food service businesses throughout New Jersey, according to a press release.
“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,” he said, according to the release. “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.”
Because the production of paper bags requires the use of resources and energy that contribute to pollution, New Jersey will instead focus on the use of reusable bags moving forward, according to the release.
These products, in addition to disposable food containers and cups made out of polystyrene foam, will be banned starting May 2022, according to the release.
Items that will be exempted from this ban for an additional two years include portion cups of 2 ounces or less for hot foods and foods requiring lids, as well as food products pre-packaged by manufacturers with polystyrene foam and trays for raw or butchered meat, among other things, according to the release.
Additionally, food service businesses will be able to provide single-use plastic straws only upon request beginning November 2021, according to the release.
“(Murphy) signed the strongest single-use ban on plastics in the country to prioritize our wildlife and our communities over endless plastic waste polluting our waterways,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, according to the release. “Plastic and polystyrene items we use for 15 minutes should not end up in our environment and communities for endless generations. Polystyrene cannot be cost-effectively recycled on a mass scale and we need to transition to reusable bags.”