TRENTON – A provision of New Jersey’s commitment to reduce plastics pollution statewide will take effect on Thursday, Nov. 4 when food-service businesses may provide single-use plastic straws to a customer only upon request, the Department of Environmental Protection and NJ Business Action Center announced today.
Food-service businesses includes all restaurants, convenience stores and fast-food businesses, each of which must also educate their employees and customers about the restriction. Consumers will still be able to purchase packages of straws and beverages prepackaged with a straw, such as juice boxes, after Nov. 4.
The restriction on single-use plastic straws is part of a broader state law enacted in 2020 banning the sale or provision of single-use plastic carryout bags from stores and food-service businesses; single-use paper carryout bags from grocery stores larger than or equal to 2,500 square feet; and use of polystyrene foam food-service products. These additional provisions of the law take effect on May 4, 2022 and will supersede any established local laws at that time.
“When we move beyond single-use plastics, we can reduce our reliance on the fossil fuels that create plastic, remove a source of litter from our communities, and protect wild and marine life from the harm of ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic products,” DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said.
The DEP, NJ Business Action Center and the NJ Clean Communities Council are working together to help businesses and communities understand and comply with the law. A new website at www.nj.gov/dep/plastic-ban-law/ includes helpful information for regulated entities, including a Frequently Asked Questions page, a list of establishments and how the law impacts them, a copy of the law, and more.
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“The ban was designed to address the problem of plastic pollution with solutions to protect the environment for future generations,” said Melanie Willoughby, executive director of the New Jersey Business Action Center. “To assist businesses with compliance, the NJ Business Action Center (NJBAC) has rolled out resources on our website and encourages businesses to keep track of important timelines.”
Additionally, the NJ Business Action Center has created a clearinghouse at https://business.nj.gov/bags/vendorclearinghouse to aid businesses in identifying vendors and manufacturers who sell the reusable carryout bags permitted by the new law.
To learn more about the Clean Communities Council’s Bag Up NJ campaign, visit www.bagupnj.com.
For a video about BagUp NJ, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxxIrduooSk
Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP.