TRENTON, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy today signed what is believed to be the nation's toughest law prohibiting the use of single-use plastic and paper bags in all stores and food service businesses statewide. Starting May 2022, both plastic and paper single-use bags, as well as disposable food containers and cups made out of polystyrene foam, will be banned.

“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,” said Gov. Murphy. “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.”  

Moving forward, the state will emphasize using reusable bags. The following products will be exempt for an additional two years after May 2022:  

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  • Disposable, long-handled polystyrene foam soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks;
  • Portion cups of two ounces or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids;
  • Meat and fish trays for raw or butchered meat, including poultry, or fish that is sold from a refrigerator or similar retail appliance;
  • Any food product pre-packaged by the manufacturer with a polystyrene foam food service product; and
  • Any other polystyrene foam food service product as determined necessary by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Under the new law, food service businesses will be allowed to provide single-use plastic straws only upon request starting Nov. 2021.

“From our cities to our shores, single-use plastic bags unnecessarily litter New Jersey’s most treasured spaces and pollute our ecosystems,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “By banning single-use plastic bags, Gov. Murphy and our legislature continue to make a New Jersey national leader in environmental protection and the DEP stands ready to implement these new measures and educate the public.” 

 

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