New Jersey’s New Plastic and Paper Bag Use Laws

Source: PressOfAtlanticCity.com

What do the state’s plastic bags ban laws mean?

New Jersey retail stores, grocery stores and food service businesses may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products. Single-use paper carryout bags are allowed to be provided or sold, except by grocery stores equal to or larger than 2,500 square feet, which may only provide or sell reusable carryout bags.

As of Nov. 4, 2021, plastic straws were to be provided only upon the request of the customer.

What To Expect At Grocery Stores Larger than 2,500 Sq. Ft.

New norms: Customers can bring reusable bags to the store. Stores can sell reusable bags
What is not permitted: Stores cannot provide single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout, curbside pickup, and home home delivery
Exceptions:
Bags for loose items are exempt e.g., produce, greeting cards, flowers etc.
Polystyrene foam for raw and deli sliced meats, including poultry and fish trays are exempt
Polystyrene foam for grocery items pre-packed by a manufacturer are exempt

What To Expect At Restaurants

New norms:
Restaurants may provide single-use paper bags
Food served or delivered in plastic, paper, or aluminum containers
Customers bring a reusable bag
Restaurants only provide plastic straws when requested
What is not permitted:
Restaurants cannot provide single-use plastic bags
Restaurants cannot serve or deliver food in polystyrene foam
Exceptions:
Paper straws are exempt and can be given without a request
Polystyrene foam portion cups of two ounces or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids are exempt
Polystyrene foam disposable, long-handled soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks are exempt

What to expect at convenience stores

New norms: Convenience stores may provide single-use paper bags. Customers may bring reusable bags
What is not permitted:Store cannot provide single-use plastic bags
ExceptionsExceptions listed above for grocery stores and restaurants apply

What to expect at pharmacies

New norms: Pharmacies may provide single-use paper bags
Customers bring a reusable bag
What is not permitted:Pharmacies cannot provide single-use plastic bags
Exceptions: Plastic bags for prescriptions are exempt

What to expect at retail stores

New norms: Retail stores may provide single-use paper bags. Customers may bring reusable bags
What is not permitted: Retail stores cannot provide single-use plastic bags

Penalties for violating the plastic bag ban

A person or entity that violates the law will be warned for a first offense, 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. Violations of a continuing nature constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense for each day that is deemed a violation.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, state municipalities, and any entity certified pursuant to the County Environmental Health Act are authorized to enforce the law.

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