NJ Announces Styrofoam Container, Paper and Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban

Earlier today, November 4, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that bans Styrofoam containers, and paper and single-use plastic bags over the upcoming years.

Starting in May 2022, businesses such as restaurants, convenience stores, food trucks, movie theaters and grocery stores occupying at least 2,500 square feet are prohibited from giving out polystyrene containers and plastic and paper bags.

And beginning in November 2021, straws can only be given to customers who request them.

Exemptions apply to bags used for wrapping raw meat; Styrofoam butcher trays; bags used for loose produce; those that hold fish and insects from pet stores; and bags for prescription drugs, newspapers and dry-cleaning.

Per the NJBIA, the bill also aims to encourage carryout reusable bags, be it those made of polypropylene, PET nonwoven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp products, or other machine-washable fabric.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection can grant a one-year waiver to the Styrofoam ban if a business has no “feasible and commercially available alternative,” or if it makes less than $500,000 in yearly gross income.

The measure also allocates $500,000 to the NJDEP for a program to provide free, reusable bags throughout the state. And, to see the state create a Plastics Advisory Council within the NJDEP to gauge the effectiveness of the new restrictions.

Duane Morris has a robust group of transactional and environmental lawyers available to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. If you have any questions about this post or if we can be of assistance, please contact Brad A. Molotsky, Lori Mills, Seth Cooley, Phil Cha, Lindsay Ann Brown or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Be well and stay safe.