Recent Regulations and Resources

Learn about new rules, resources, and upcoming changes that may effect your business

Ban on Plastic Bag and Polystyrene Foam Products

Updated:
May 4, 2021

Effective May 4, 2022, all stores and food service businesses are banned from providing or selling single-use plastic carryout bags or polystyrene foam food service products to customers. Grocery stores that occupy at least 2,500 square feet are also banned from providing or selling single-use paper carryout bags. Instead, reusable carryout bags, as defined in the law, may be provided or sold at the point of sale. Single-use plastic straws may only be provided on a by-request basis, effective November 4, 2021.  This state-wide ban supersedes any previous or existing local, county or city ordinances.

To assist in determining if your business is impacted by the law, a document has been developed that may be used as a guide. Please see the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) list of effected establishments and products for clarification .

Impact

With the ban, New Jersey takes a leadership role in addressing the problem of plastic pollution with solutions to protect the environment for future generations. Most single-use plastic carryout bags end up in landfills, are incinerated or accumulate in the environment. They litter and degrade the quality of waterways and oceans where they do not biodegrade, and through photodegradation release chemicals into the environment that are harmful to human health. This negatively impacts major contributors to the New Jersey economy such as the tourism, fishing, shipping industries and recreation.  

Single-use paper carryout bags have been found to have a significant impact on the environment by requiring large inputs of water, energy, chemicals, and wood to produce them. Reusable carryout bags made of materials specified in the law provide a durable, hygienic, and environmentally-friendly alternative. 

Resources

For additional information and insight into the law, read through the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

To stay on track, read the banned bag and polystyrene foam ban timeline for all critical dates as defined by the law.  It is recommended that interested parties print a copy of this timeline and keep it posted in order to keep track of the deadlines.

If you need additional support, The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) offers a live chat on this website from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The live chat is answered by New Jersey-based business experts who can assist in providing answers to your questions.

The NJBAC is also offering virtual “roundtables”, or webinars, available to all organizations interested in educating their constituencies about the new law. Please contact Melanie.Willoughby@sos.nj.gov to request a roundtable.

Find Approved Bags

The law requires that reusable carryout bags be made of polypropylene fabric, PET non-woven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product or other washable fabric, have stitched handles, and be designed and manufactured for multiple reuse (see Frequently Asked Questions for details).

A list of vendors that provide environmentally sound alternatives to single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, polystyrene foam food service products, and single-use plastic straws is coming soon. 

This list is provided as a courtesy only. Those persons or businesses who access this information assume fully responsibility for the use of said information and understand and agree that the New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) assumes no responsibility for any arrangements, contracts, purchases, or disputes between a person or business and any vendor on this list.  Every business should make its own evaluation of the products and services offered by vendors and their compliance with the requirements of the law. NJBAC does not negotiate, guarantee, recommend, or endorse vendors or products or their compliance with the law.

Organizing Agencies

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is responsible for the overall implementation of the law including the adoption of implementing regulations. The NJDEP, along with Municipalities, CEHA and the Department of Health are responsible for enforcement of the law. In coordination with the NJDEP, the New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) is responsible for communicating with all businesses their responsibilities for compliance under the law, and the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) is responsible for developing and implementing a Statewide public information and education program including limited distribution of free reusable bags.

This law was signed by Governor Phil Murphy on Nov 4, 2020. (S-864) (P.L.2020.C117) .

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