New Jersey ban on single-use plastic carry-out bags and Styrofoam takes effect May 4, 2022

Do you run a grocery or retail store that distributes plastic or paper to-go bags to customers? Are you running a business?

As part of our eco-friendly initiative to eliminate plastic pollution in the environment, New Jersey will soon ban single-use plastic to-go bags, Styrofoam food service products and paper to-go bags in grocery stores over 2,500 square feet, limiting plastic straws to requests only . This ban will take effect on May 4, 2022.

The law, signed into law by Gov. Murphy in 2020, bans the use of plastic carry-out bags in grocery stores and retail stores, regardless of thickness, and paper carry-out bags in grocery stores over 2,500 square feet. The use of out bags is prohibited. The law also bans Styrofoam clamshell food containers and products such as plates, cups, food trays and utensils, and makes plastic straws available only on request. See for affected facilities and products and a helpful chart of exemptions.

The ban aims to address the problem of plastic pollution with a solution to protect the environment for future generations. In 2017, only 8.4% of plastic in the US was recycled. Most single-use plastic carry bags end up in landfills, incinerated, or accumulate in the environment. Residual plastic products that fail to biodegrade release chemicals into the environment that are harmful to human health, adversely affecting key contributors to New Jersey’s economy, including tourism, fishing, shipping, and recreation. .

To promote the use of reusable carryout bags, the New Jersey Clean Community Council launched the “Bag Up NJ” campaign. The campaign educates and reminds consumers about their sustainability choices and encourages them to bring their own reusable bags when shopping.

To help businesses comply, the NJ Business Action Center (NJBAC) has deployed resources on its website This website has a list of reusable bag wholesalers. The Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has published containing detailed information about the new law. The NJ Clean Communities Council, responsible for outreach, educational programs, and public service announcements, will distribute a limited number of free, reusable carry-out his bags through its partnership with Clean Communities Programs. Find your county Clean Community Coordinator at

To stay on track, businesses can read the single-use plastic to-go bags and Styrofoam ban schedule for all key dates defined by law. Companies are encouraged to print and post a copy of this timeline to keep track of important deadlines.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection is responsible for overall enforcement of the Plastics Ban Act, including adoption of enforcement regulations. NJDEP is responsible for law enforcement, along with local governments, CEHA, and the New Jersey Department of Health. Violating companies will be subject to a warning for the first violation, fines of up to $1,000 per day for the second violation, and up to $5,000 per day for the third and subsequent violations.

For additional assistance, live chat is available on the New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) website :00 pm Monday through Friday, New Jersey-based business experts are available to assist you and answer your questions.

For more information, contact the NJDEP Division of Solid and Hazardous Waste at [email protected] or 609-984-4250.

For more information on the New Jersey Clean Communities “Bag Up” campaign, please visit

To access free resources provided by the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC), visit

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