TRENTON, NJ- This past week, New Jersey legislators passed a bill that would put in effect one of the strictest plastic bag and containers law in the country. This would apply to food and convenience stores, restaurants, food trucks, as well as other businesses that are 2500 square feet or larger. The bill S864 would limit the use of single-use polystyrene food containers, plastic straws, plastic as well as paper bags. This would supersede local ordinances that have been put in place over the past few years to protect our environment and reduce liter and trash. The bill cites warnings for first time offending businesses with subsequent fines ranging from $1000 to $5000 for repeat occurrences.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will oversee the new regulations, which will become effective in 2022. There are exemptions for certain single use bags such as polystyrene raw meat trays, dry cleaning bags, and bags located in produce sections. Plastic straws can be made to restaurant patrons if requested. This would apply to all 565 municipalities within NJ. Many towns in the LBI Region have put bag bans in place to protect our coastal resources, some have been lifted temporarily during the COVID19 crisis.
The bill passed both the Assembly and Senate and is waiting for the Governor to sign it into law.