In what some are saying may be the toughest plastic bag ban in the country, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is issuing a reminder to all.
Beginning on May 4, 2022, New Jersey retail stores, grocery stores and food service businesses may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam containers. Under some circumstances, single-use paper carryout bags will be allowed. However, grocery stores 2500 square feet or more will only be allowed to provide or sell reusable carryout bags.
After November 4, 2021, plastic straws may be provided, but only upon the request of the customer.
The law was passed on November 4, 2020. Businesses and consumers were given 18 months to prepare for it. Time is now up.
A “reusable bag” is defined by the DEP as:
- One made of polypropylene fabric, PET nonwoven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other washable fabric; and
- Having stitched handles; and
- Designed and manufactured for multiple reuses.
Violations of the law could be costly. Following a warning for the first offense, a person or entity “may be fined “up to $1,000 per day for the second offense, and may be fined up to $5,000 per day for the third and subsequent violations.”