New Jersey’s single-use shopping bag ban to take effect in May 2022

Law also cuts use of polystyrene foam for foods and beverages

A state-wide prohibition on single-use paper and plastic bags typically dispensed by merchants will go into effect on May 4 this year. Read the law here (PDF). HV Green Team member Paul Kinney quantifies and explains the impact of the law in an article published on MercerMe.com. It will supersede the ban on plastic bags enacted by Hopewell Borough in 2020.

Styrofoam coffee cups, egg cartons and other food service items made from polystyrene foam will be banned. However, there are exemptions: trays for meat and fish trays for raw or butchered meat, including poultry; food products pre-packaged by the manufacturer with polystyrene foam; cups of two ounces or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids; and, long-handled polystyrene foam soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks.

The law includes a provision that only allows food service businesses to supply a single-use plastic straw when their customers request one – this rule went into effect November 4, 2021.

Customers and guests at food establishments are encouraged to bring their own reusable bags and containers.

  • Check out New Jersey Clean Communities Council’s single use plastic and paper bag ban outreach campaign BagUpNJ.com.
  • More resources and FAQs for all stakeholders are available at Association of NJ Environmental Commissions’ website NJNoPlastics.
  • The website Treehugger.com has a list of their favorite grocery bags.