One year after New Jersey implemented a law restricting single-use plastic bags and straws, and limited use of other products including paper carryout bags and polystyrene foam food containers, the Murphy Administration is celebrating a significant decrease in the use of these products and resulting reductions in litter, Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced.
Governor Murphy signed the law in 2020 and New Jersey implemented it effective May 4, 2022. The law prevents grocery stores and retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags to customers, and further restricts grocery stores 2,500 square feet or larger from providing single-use paper bags. Similarly, polystyrene foam food takeout containers and other polystyrene food service products also may no longer be provided to customers, and single-use plastic straws may only be provided upon a customer’s request.
The impact of these restrictions is being hailed as a success just one year after the law went into effect.
Among key metrics measured during the past year:
The New Jersey Food Council estimates that 5.5 billion single-use plastic bags and 110 million single-use paper bags were eliminated from entering the waste stream and environment by its 2,000 grocery store members between May and December 2022.
There has been a more than 37% decrease in single-use plastics in each of three categories affected by the law, including single-use plastic bags, foam food containers and straws found as litter along the Jersey shore.
There has been a reduction in the number of plastic straws purchased by convenience stores for distribution to customers, from 17 million to 2 million per month.