On September 24, the legislature passed S-864 which prohibits the sale of single use plastic carryout bags, single use paper carry-out bags, polystyrene foam food service products, and creates limits for single use plastic straws. The legislation would take effect 18 months after the bill is signed by the Governor. Once passed, this legislation will be the strictest plastic ban in the United States preempting all other local regulations and ordinances in New Jersey. Municipalities will not be permitted to adopt any rules, regulations, or ordinances that regulates to single use plastic straws, single use carry out bags, and polystyrene foam food service products.
The legislation provides exemptions for the following situations:
- Restaurants will be permitted to serve single use plastic straws upon request in accordance with ADA regulations:
- Reusable plastic carry-out bags sold at supermarkets;
- Plastic bags use
- for loose fruits, vegetables, baked goods, candy, flowers, etc.;
- to contain live animals like goldfish;
- for prepared food orders;
- for dry cleaning;
- for carrying out prescription drugs;
- for delivering newspapers;
- Polystyrene spoons for thick beverages;
- Polystyrene hot food trays; and,
- Foods that are pre-packaged in polystyrene.
Under the legislation, enforcement will be handled by not only the New Jersey Department of Health, but, municipalities, and other entities that are certified under the County Environmental Health Act ( P.L.1977, c.443 (C.26:3a2-21 et seq.). Any entity found in violation of the legislation will receive a warning for the first offence, and subject to a fine up to $1000 for the second offence; and, up to $5,000 for all future offences. All revenue collected must go towards the Clean Communities Fund. Lastly, this legislation diverts money from the Clean Communities to help fund recycling grants to counties and municipalities up to a $4,000,000 limit.
Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst email@example.com, 609-695-3481 x116.