Make Every Day Earth Day!
On Nov 4,2020 Governor Phil Murphy & the NJ State Legislature enacted the most progressive bag ban law in the country.
The law prevents litter and encourages the use of reusable bags by phasing out single-use plastic and paper bags. This puts NJ at the forefront of the effort to find a solution for our “plastic problem.”
The law bans plastic bags, regardless of thickness, at grocery stores & retail outlets, as well as paper bags at grocery stores measuring more than 2,500 ft2. It also bans clamshell food containers & other products such as plates, cups, food trays & utensils; & makes plastic straws at restaurants available only upon request.
While we often hear about the environmental impact of disposable plastic bags, it is important to remember that disposable paper bags have a significant impact on the environment too. Papermaking requires large inputs of water, energy, chemicals, and wood, and produces various wastes and emissions that must be controlled or treated. Additionally, paper bags require ten times the number of trucks to deliver the same quantity of bags, resulting in increased truck traffic and diesel emissions.
- Half of all plastics ever manufactured have been made in the last 15 years.
- Only about 9% of this plastic has been recycled, 12% has been burned and the remaining 79% has ended up in landfills or the environment.
- A whopping 2 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide.
- A plastic bottle can last for 450 years in the marine environment, slowly fragmenting into smaller and smaller pieces which eventually end up microscopic but never truly go away.
New Jersey also is taking aim at plastic straws in this same legislation. Effective November 4, 2021, restaurants won’t automatically give you a straw. ALL food service businesses are ONLY permitted to provide single-use plastic straws upon request. Shop owners in non-compliance face penalties up to $5000 a day. Consider skipping the straw and save a sea turtle today!
- 500 million plastic straws are used every day in the United States. That’s enough straws to wrap around the earth 2.5 times a day or fill Yankee Stadium over 9 times a year! Learn more.
- Straws are among the top 10 litter items found on beaches during the annual International Coastal Cleanup. Learn more.
- Plastic straws are not recyclable in Ewing. They are challenging to sort at the recycling center because of their shape and size and because they lack a resin code, so they can contaminate recyclables. They must be put in the trash bin! Learn more.
- A plastic straw will stay in the environment for hundreds of years, causing harm to wildlife and people. Straws & other plastics hurt sea life when they are mistaken for food. When animals encounter plastics, they can become entangled or can starve due to ingestion. Scientists estimate that more than half of all sea turtles have eaten plastic.
Important Dates to Remember
- November 4, 2021
SINGLE USE STRAWS BY REQUEST ONLY
Plastic straws can only be provided upon request of a customer.
- May 4, 2022
POLYSTYRENE FOAM FOOD SERVICE BAN
The selling/offering for sale of any polystyrene foam food service product is prohibited. All food service businesses are also prohibited from selling/providing any food served in a polystyrene foam food service product.
- May 4, 2022
SINGLE-USE CARRYOUT BAG BAN
All Stores (including retail), Food Service Businesses, and Grocery Stores may not sell to, or provide their customers with, single-use plastic carryout bags.
What You Can Do to Support Bag Up/Skip the Straw NJ
As a consumer, there are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.
- When shopping, bring your reusable shopping bags to help fight waste in your town.
- Recycle your disposable bags by bringing them to your local retailer.
- When it comes to reusable bags, you have options. There are many different sizes, types, materials, and designs. Choose the ones that work best for you as a consumer.
- Consider skipping the straw and save a sea turtle today!
We encourage you to make one change and treat every day like Earth Day!