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Posted on: April 1, 2022

NJ State Ban on Single-Use Carryout Bags Begins May 4, 2022

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Get Past Plastic

Ban on Single-Use Carryout Bags, Ban on Polystyrene Foam Food Service Products, and Plastic Straws By-Request-Only (P.L. 2020, c. 117)

A summary and overview of the law P.L. 2020, c. 117 (pdf)

How Does this Law Impact My Business?

Ban on Single-Use Carryout Bags:

Beginning May 4, 2022, the law prohibits all Stores (including retail), Food Service Businesses, and Grocery Stores from selling to, or providing their customers with, single-use plastic carryout bags. In addition, Grocery Stores larger than 2,500 square feet may not provide or sell single-use paper carryout bags, and instead may provide or sell only reusable carryout bags.

  • Definitions:
    • "Store" is any grocery store, convenience store, liquor store, pharmacy, drug store, or other retail establishment.
    • "Food Service Business" sells or provides food for consumption on or off the premises, including, but not limited to, establishments such as a restaurant, café, delicatessen, coffee shop, convenience store, grocery store, vending truck or cart, food truck, movie theater, or business or institutional cafeteria, including those operated by a government entity.
    • "Grocery Store" is a self-service retail establishment that occupies at least 2,500 square feet, and that sells household foodstuffs for off-site consumption, including but not limited to fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, baked foods, or prepared foods.

Reusable Carryout Bags:

  • A "reusable carryout bag" must be:
    • Made of polypropylene fabric, PET nonwoven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other washable fabric; and
    • Have stitched handles;
    • Be designed and manufactured for multiple reuses.

Ban on Polystyrene Foam Food Service Products:

  • Beginning May 4, 2022, the law prohibits all persons and food service businesses from selling/offering for sale any polystyrene foam food service product and prohibits all food service businesses from selling/providing any food served in a polystyrene foam food service product.
  • The following products are exempt until May 4, 2024 unless otherwise extended by the DEP:
    • 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.
    • Any other polystyrene foam food service product as determined necessary by the DEP.
  • A "polystyrene foam food service product" is defined as a product made, in whole or in part, of polystyrene foam that is used for selling or providing a food or beverage, and includes but is not limited to a food container, plate, hot or cold beverage cup, meat or vegetable tray, cutlery, or egg carton.
  • Further exemptions and requests for waivers for polystyrene foam food service products may be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on forms to be prescribed.
  • Contact for the NJDEP Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste is singleuseplastics@dep.nj.gov or 609-984-4250

Requirements for Single-use Plastic Straws:

  • Beginning on November 4, 2021, food service businesses shall only provide a single-use plastic straw to a customer upon request by the customer. Food service businesses are required to keep an adequate supply of single-use plastic straws. Stores may continue to sell packages of single-use plastic straws and provide/sell a beverage pre-packaged by the manufacturer with a single-use plastic straw, i.e., juice boxes

Penalties for Non-compliance and Enforcement:

  • A person or entity that violates the law will be warned for a first offense, may be fined up to $1,000 per day for the second offense, and may be fined up to $5,000 per day for the third and subsequent violations. Violations of a continuing nature constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense for each day that is deemed a violation.
  • The DEP, municipalities and any entity certified pursuant to the "County Environmental Health Act" are authorized to enforce the law.

For more information, visit the NJDEP website.

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