TRENTON—This week, Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a ban on businesses giving customers single-use plastic bags, paper bags, polystyrene food containers and plastic straws, NJ.com reports. The law, approved by state legislators in September, is the strictest in the United States and will become effective in May 2022.
“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,” Murphy said in statement. “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.”
The new mandate forbids foodservice stores from handing out polystyrene food containers and single-use plastic bags. Businesses included in the ban are convenience stores, restaurants, food trucks, movie theaters and supermarkets 2,500 square feet and larger. Grocery stores also cannot give customers paper bags under the new regulations.
Exemptions to the law include bags used for loose items like produce, bags holding fish or insects from pet stores, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, polystyrene butcher trays, bags wrapping raw meat and bags for prescription drugs.
Starting November 2021, foodservice establishments will also be prohibited from giving customers plastic straws unless the customer specifically requests one. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will enforce the ban. During the transition period, New Jersey will conduct a public awareness campaign and hand out free, reusable bags.
Though it might seem intimidating, incorporating sustainable practices doesn’t have to be. Attend the “Profiting from Sustainability” Education Session to learn more about how your stores can get a leg up on sustainability during the NACS Crack the Code Experience. You can still register for your very own NACS Crack the Code Experience. The NACS Crack the Code Experience runs through December 4, 2020, and features 24/7 access to forward-looking ideas and insights, plus innovative new-to-channel products and strategic connections. Your fellow convenience industry retailers look forward to seeing you there!