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3/28/2022 - Statewide Bag Ban Law Intended to Reduce Plastic Pollution in NJ

Statewide Bag Ban Law Intended to Reduce Plastic Pollution in NJ


Starting May 4, 2022, New Jersey retail stores, grocery stores, and food service businesses will not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags or polystyrene foam food service products. The law (P.L.202,c.117) enacted on November 4, 2020, bans plastic bags as well as paper bags at grocery stores measuring more than 2,500 square feet. It also bans polystyrene foam food service products. The statewide ban will create an effective and uniform sustainable policy for all shoppers and business owners in NJ.

There are some exceptions, including bags used to contain or wrap fruits, vegetables, baked goods, uncooked meat, fish or poultry. Bags for laundry or dry cleaning, as well as bags provided by a pharmacy to carry prescription drugs will also still be allowed.

The reasoning behind the legislation is to cut down on plastic pollution in New Jersey. Most single-use plastic carry-out bags end up in landfills, are incinerated or accumulate in the environment. The quality of waterways and oceans are negatively affected by the litter caused from plastic bags. Major contributors to the New Jersey economy such as the tourism, fishing, and shipping industries are also adversely impacted.

Residents are encouraged to bring their own (reusable) bags when heading to the grocery store or other retailer. Reusable carryout bags made of materials specified in the law, provide a durable, hygienic, and environmentally-friendly alternative.

Here are a few tips to help remember to bring your own bags when shopping:
1. Keep extra bags in the car.
2. Hang extra bags by the door or alongside coats and jackets.
3. Get some lightweight "packable" bags that pack into a small pouch to keep in
     your purse or pockets.
4. Put a sign on your door as a reminder.

We can all work together to reduce reliance on single-use products to ensure future generations have a clean and healthy environment in which to live, work and play in. Banning or limiting the use of single-use plastic and paper carryout bags is a significant step in this effort.

Residents can learn more by visiting the "Bag Up NJ" site:

For more information in regards to business compliance, please see additional information here: