You may have already seen the signs at various stores: New Jersey’s ban on plastic and paper bags – the strictest such ban in the nation – goes into effect on May 4th.
So, what does it mean for you?
Starting on May 4th, all stores (retail, grocery, pharmacies, restaurants, cafeterias, etc.) cannot give you or even sell you a plastic bag to hold the items you bought. And unlike every other state with a plastic bag ban (there are 8), New Jersey won’t allow stores to give you a paper bag either. Instead, stores are only allowed to give or sell you a reusable bag.
If you’d like, you can bring your own plastic bags to stores and have your items placed in them. If this interests you, you can buy plastic shopping bags in bulk here. You can also bring other things to carry your items, like cardboard boxes, laundry baskets, or whatever else you want.
Note that the plastic and paper bag ban is only applicable to bags that are used in stores to carry out items, so you can still buy any other type of plastic or paper bag off store shelves, like lunch bags, storage bags, etc. You can also use plastic shopping bags as a garbage bag in your bathroom garbages, if you so choose.
Also, the plastic ban does not apply to produce bags, so you will still be able to bring fruits and vegetables to the checkout counter and then home in those bags. The same goes for the plastic bags used to wrap meat and fish, and small plastic bags that are sometimes used to package loose or baked goods (nuts, coffee, muffins, etc.).