How will this law help the community?

Plastic litter reduction can lead to improved public health, improved recycling rates because of decreased contamination, financial savings for municipalities because of less maintenance, and less localized flooding due to blockage of storm drains.

Does the state law override local ordinances?

Yes. Once the product type’s implementation date begins, the law will supersede and preempt any municipal or county rule. Local ordinances are in effect until the implementation of the state law for each product type. Existing ordinances for single-use bag and polystyrene food foam service products are active until May 2022. Straws upon request existing local ordinances are active until November 2021.

What are the penalties for not following the ban?

• Any business violating the bill would get a warning on first offense, a fine up to $1,000 for a second offense and a fine of up to $5,000 for a third or subsequent offense, to be collected through civil action.

• 70% of the penalties will be remitted to the State Clean Communities Fund.

• 30% of the penalties will be remitted to the municipality.

For more information, refer to https://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/plastic-ban-law/impact-on-business.html#penalties

What funds are available for reusable bag giveaway?

NJ Clean Communities and Municipal Recycling Tonnage Grant funds can be used towards purchase of reusable bags. Click here

What’s the definition of a reusable bag?

A Reusable bag is one that is made of polypropylene, PET nonwoven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other machine washable fabric; has stitched handles; and is designed and manufactured for multiple reuse.

What can stores & food service establishments do instead?

• Instead of Single-use Bags – Encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags and make reusable, durable bags with stitched handles available for customers to purchase.

• Instead of Single-use Foam Food Service Products (expanded polystyrene) – Use durable and washable plates, cups, bowls, and trays that last for a long time. Or use paper cups, plates, bowls, and to-go containers, especially those made with post-consumer recycled content. Recyclable aluminum and plastic to-go containers are also available. Encourage customers to eat and drink “for here” using reusable and washable cups, bowls, and plates and support customers who bring their own to-go containers by giving them a discount based on the cost of a single-use to-go container.

• Instead of Plastic Straws – Provide non-plastic disposable straws or sell or provide reusable stainless-steel straws. Disabled customers might require a straw. The American Disability Act stipulates that you cannot ask a customer how or to prove they are disabled.

What can the municipality do now?

Encourage businesses to check inventory levels, train staff, and post signage

• Highlight businesses in town that are already encouraging reusable bag use and alternatives to plastic and Styrofoam food service ware.

• Encourage residents to bring reusables (e.g., press releases, articles, screen plastic pollution documentaries, host green events, Choose Reusable signage around the community)

• Host Repurpose T-Shirts to reusable bag event

• Host reusable bag giveaway event

•  Check the Resources page for ideas on how to educate the community

How will enforcement be handled?

Enforcement will be handled by NJ Department of Environmental Protection, the municipality, and any entity certified under the County Environmental Health Act.

Say Yes to Reusables!