Updated: Jan 19, 2021
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signs single-use plastic and paper bag ban into law.
According to Murphy's office, the new measure, the strongest bag ban in the country, is a significant step to reduce harm and pollution to the environment.
“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 a statement.
Starting in May 2022, single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, and polystyrene foam foodservice products are banned. The law also limits the use of single-use plastic straws and appropriates money from the Clean Communities Program Fund for public education.
So, what does this mean for you? If a bag is provided by a store or foodservice business to a customer to transport groceries, prepared foods, or retail goods, that's considered single-use plastic or paper and is banned in May 2022.
Those clamshell-like foam food containers? Also banned.
Straws may be provided upon request.
What about my goldfish? Sustainably grown, fresh ground coffee? Antibiotic ointment?
In these and somewhat other obvious instances, you will receive a bag.
However, obvious is relative; your local grocery store? They are considered a food service business and fall under the single-use plastic, single-use paper carryout ban.
Remember those bags you drag around in your car but usually forget to carry into the supermarket? You'll start remembering them after you try to juggle a gallon of margarita mix, three avocados, a tomato, one lime, a head of garlic, and two bags of chips -- for the third time.
One more thing, how about purchasing a pair of jeans or jammies? Or, more likely, a pair of Zoom ready sweat pants? Yup, you'll be going bagless there too. Be prepared.
As environmentalists, we are on the side of the planet. As residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties, we are definitely on the side of the ocean. As New Jerseyites? No bag? No problem.
Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, said it best, "It's a good day for marine critters and the power of the people". "For over 35 years, thousands of COA's Beach Sweep volunteers have collected over 7.2 million pieces of trash, mostly plastic, off NJ's beaches. Thanks to Governor Murphy and the NJ Legislature, we've successfully drawn a line in the sand and made NJ a world leader in reducing the plastic plague on this marvel of a planet."
The team at Brookdale TIN couldn't agree more.
Welcome to Environmentality!