Time To Get Ready, the Single-Use Plastics Ban Is Coming

We share with you the latest news release from the NJ DEP about the ban on single-use plastic products such as carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products that will take effect in one year. We urge local businesses to prepare now for the new requirements. In fact, you don’t need to wait. You can join with our state leaders and lead the way in protecting our New Jersey environment.

“On Nov. 4, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law P.L. 2020, c117, which prohibits the use of single-use plastic carryout bags in all stores and food service businesses statewide and single-use paper carryout bags in grocery stores that occupy at least 2,500 square feet beginning May 4, 2022. The law is designed to reduce pollution and protect New Jersey’s environment and economy for generations to come.

“With the enactment of the single-use plastic ban, New Jersey, is again leading in protecting our environment, communities, and economy,” said DEP Acting Commissioner LaTourette. “Resistant to natural degradation, single-use plastics have long littered our communities and harmed our waterways and the wildlife that depend on them. Plastic pollution also has a detrimental effect on character of our communities and damages important industries like tourism and fishing—both major contributors to New Jersey’s economy. The steps we take together to reduce plastic pollution will improve quality of life for all New Jersey residents.”

“We love New Jersey beaches, forests and waterways, and we want to protect them for current and future resident and visitors to enjoy,” Secretary Way said. “We’re here to support New Jersey’s businesses as they make the transition to reusable bags. We understand that these changes take time. We’ll be here to help business owners understand the law and answer any question they may have as we look ahead to May 2022.”

Beginning May 4, 2022, New Jersey businesses may not sell or provide single-use plastic carryout bags to their customers. Those businesses that decide to sell or provide reusable carryout bags must ensure that the bags meet the requirements as defined in the law.

The law defines reusable bags as ones that:

  • Are made of polypropylene fabric, PET non-woven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other washable fabric; and
  • Have stitched handles; and
  • Are designed and manufactured for multiple reuses.

To help New Jersey businesses prepare, the New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC), part of the New Jersey Department of State, and the DEP have developed online resources. The State’s business-focused website Business.NJ.gov as well as the DEP website (www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/plastic-ban-law/) feature the latest information on the law. The business experts on the NJBAC website’s Live Chat and at 1-800-Jersey-7 are available 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday, for the information you need to comply with the new law.

Future resources for businesses on the website will include a listing of vendors who sell reusable carryout bags that meet the new requirements. In addition, the NJBAC will be conducting virtual roundtables discussing implementation of the law with Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations around the State.

Under the new law, polystyrene foam food service products and foods sold or provided in polystyrene foam food service products will also be banned as of May 4, 2022, and food service businesses will only be allowed to provide single-use plastic straws by request starting Nov. 4, 2021.

However, the following products will be exempt for an additional two years, until May 4, 2024:

  • 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; and
  • Any other polystyrene foam food service product as determined necessary by the DEP.

Additional online resources for the general public may be found on the NJ Clean Communities website’s www.BagUpNJ.com and www.njclean.org.”1


Plastic-free July – Final Weeks

Hi Folks,

As you may have seen on our Facebook page, we have been participating in a Plastic-free July Celebration along with our fellow Mercer County Sustainability Coalition (MCSC) members.   As we wind down, and with our usual timeliness, we would just like to speak a little bit about the movement.

Plastic Free July is a movement that spans over 177 countries and 250 million participants.  For more information we encourage you to go to https://www.plasticfreejuly.org/.

Thru the movement we encourage you to explore ways to cut down on plastic waste from bags, balloons, packaging, dental floss, and more. The posts on our Facebook page, along with the images, we hope will inspire you to break free of plastic waste.  Along with our partners in the MCSC, we have been and will be posting a different tip or thought provoking concept that challenges you to do more for the environment.

July is a month filled with barbecues and picnics and outdoor dining. And as a result, July is filled with plastic waste. The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the amount of plastic waste being littered and disposed of all over the State (gloves, masks, etc). Plastic Free July is the antidote! Now is a great time to adopt new habits that can reduce your plastic footprint and help you to live more harmoniously with the environment.

On both our Website and our Facebook page, our volunteers share ways of combatting the tidal wave of plastic trash in our lives. They will suggest inventive ways to reduce our plastic footprint: everything from little tricks for remembering to bring your own reusable shopping bag and your own water bottle, to how to do a waste audit of your house to figure out your real plastic footprint (tip: include the recycling bucket). Posts and information will also explore how refusing and reducing plastic waste beats recycling as a strategy.

#PlasticFreeJuly will save you money as well, because you are charged for all the little plastic things you use and throw away. You are charged twice: once when you buy it (the cost is hidden in the price of your purchase) and once when you throw it away (in your municipal disposal fees).

Waste reduction is the wave of the future as landfill space shrinks. So the households and municipalities that figure out how to cut down on waste going to landfills will be better prepared. And the Ewing Green Team is making this preparation fun.

The EGT and the MCSC believe that it takes residents from all over Mercer County working together to make a difference in our world. Join us for #PlasticFreeJuly !


We are in the midst of the worst recycling environment which we have seen in the last 20 years and all indications are that the market for recycling materials will not improve in the foreseeable future.  You may have read about the restrictions placed by China on importing recyclable materials from the United States.  China has closed its doors to many types of recycling materials and is requiring that the material be free from contamination.

China was the largest consumer of US recyclable volume and no longer is purchasing the volumes that it did in the past.  This means that there is a glut of supply in the market which is significantly driving down the value of this materials.  As a result, in many cities across the nation, recyclables are ending up in landfills.

We ask that all residents keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind when recycling:

Recycling Do’s and Don’ts

  • DO remember the first of the 3Rs of recycling: Reduce. Make every effort to reduce the amount of waste that you produce.  Single-use plastics are a significant component of that waste stream because they “don’t go away and essentially, last forever.  Make every effort to eliminate single-use items such as plastic grocery bags, straws, utensils and cups, bottled water, take-out containers…   Use reusable versions of those products instead.
  • DO recycle all empty bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.
  • DO recycle clean materials: i.e. keep foods and liquids out of recycling.
  • DO keep plastic bags out of recycling.
  • DO check out this site for more information about how you can do your share to Reduce | Reuse | Recycle.
  • DON’T bag your recyclables. Plastic bags and film get tangled in the machinery.  (Our local supermarkets have plastic bag collection bins at their entrances.)
  • DON’T include soiled food items. They can turn an entire load of recycling into trash.
  • DON’T add sharp or dangerous materials like needles and electronics. They can cause injury to workers.
  • DON’T include bulky items like propane tanks or construction debris (no wood). The Township Convenience Center at 136 Scotch Road will take a lot of materials that you cannot leave at the curb.  Please check our website or call 609- 882-3382 for accepted materials.
  • DON’T add items that are not on the list of accepted materials. This will contaminate the entire load.

We thank you for your anticipated cooperation and efforts to reduce our community’s impact on the environment.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate the Township’s Recycling Coordinator, Tom Elder at 609-882-3382 X 6404.

View the Announcement

Ewing Better Bag Project

Hello Ewing Green Team Friends!   My name is Patrick Otey and for my BSA Eagle Project I have chosen to work with the Ewing Green Team to create a new initiative called The Ewing Better Bag Project.   In an effort to promote sustainability and reduce plastic waste, I will be conducting a citizen survey aimed at discovering what customers are doing with the plastic bags they get while shopping and encouraging them to use reusable bags instead.

By helping to educate citizens about the harmful lasting effects of plastic bags and providing them with several free reusable bags, it is my hope that more people will take this small but important step to alter their shopping habits to help the environment. I will be hosting an information table, conducting surveys, and distributing free reusable bags donated by Ewing Township and Mercer County at several Ewing retailers on the following dates:

  • Sunday July 9:  11:00 – 2:00 pm , at Shoprite of Ewing
  • Saturday July 15:  10:00 – 1:00pm, at the Trenton Farmer’s Market

Thank you for supporting this important effort!  We hope to see you at these events.

Patrick Otey


Upcoming Events You Shouldn’t Miss!

Special Events Planned for Next Week

The last week of October is a busy week.  Check out these local events to help you on your path to a more sustainable life.  From plastic pollution to organic waste practices in our county, and bike advocacy in town, there is something for everyone.

BAG IT – Is Your Life Too Plastic?

Film and Discussion 

Date: Monday, October 27, 2014
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: The College of New Jersey Library Auditorium (Basement)
Parking:  See Parking Map.
Cost: Only 2 hours or so of your time

Join the Ewing Green Team for an award winning film and discussion about plastic pollution from single use plastic bags and our disposable lifestyles.  Moderated by Noemi de la Puente, founder and organizer of the grass roots organization, njthinkoutsidethebag.

This screening is part of an ongoing effort to educate Mercer County residents about how they can be part of the solution before they vote on November 4^th on a nonbinding referendum to support a 5¢ fee on single use plastic bags.

An Environmental Insights offering, a series of films, discussions and speakers brought to you by the  Ewing Green Team, designed to engage Ewing residents in a public conversation about critical environmental issues and to spark new ideas concerning sustainability.

If It Grows, It Goes…

All you need to know about organic waste recycling

Date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014  foodwaste-istock
Time: 7 – 9 pm
Location:  Dempster Fire Academy Auditorium, 350 Lawrence Station Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Cost: Free and open to the public
Pre-registration requested

Organic waste is a part of our everyday lives.  We can’t help but encounter it every time we eat, tend to our yards, or many other daily chores.

That’s why we’re breaking it down for you.  County Executive Brian Hughes will offer opening remarks and a panel of experts will explain what organic waste is, where it goes and what happens in the recycling process. Panelists will present local success stories and how you can bring this program to your town.

The Curbside Organics Program is already in place in Princeton and is currently under contract in Lawrence and Hopewell. Other municipalities in Mercer are looking to join in the near future.

Organic waste recycling is an easy way to make a HUGE impact through small actions.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about it, while networking with other like-minded individuals from throughout the region.

Hosted by Sustainable Jersey, sustainability organizations from Princeton, Lawrence, Hopewell, Ewing, West Windsor and The Mercer County Office of Economic Development and Sustainability.

For more info or to register, click here    |    Download the flier   | Driving directions

*Light refreshments will be served.  Doors open at 6:30 pm.*

Bike Ewing!

Join Our New Bike Advocacy Group

Date: Thursday, October 30, 2014  bikeewing
Time: 7 pm
Location: The College of New Jersey, Social Sciences Building Room 241
Parking:  See Parking Map.

The Ewing Green Team announces the launch of a NEW Ewing Bike Advocacy Group and invites you to join with us to promote a more bicycle and pedestrian friendly community.  The 2nd meeting will be held on Thursday, October 30th.

Monthly meetings, goal setting, and other startup activities are in the planning stages.

For more information call Mark at 609- 802- 6798.