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Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS RE

Single-Use Container Ban Starts May 4

Posted March 28th 2022

The statewide ban on single-use carryout bags and polystyrene foam food-service products as well as request-only use of plastic straws is set to go into effect on May 4.

The new regulations were set forth by Gov. Phil Murphy and the state legislature in November 2020 and is the most advanced law on single-use plastic products in the country.

The law bans the use of single-use plastic bags, regardless of thickness, in any retail establishments, including food-service businesses and grocery stores. In addition, paper bags are no longer allowed to be used by grocery stores larger than 2,500 square feet in size. These regulations encourage the use of reusable carryout bags (made of fabric, nylon, cloth, or hemp that has stitched handles manufactured for multiple uses) whether free or at a cost to the customer.

The new regulations also restrict the use of Styrofoam products in the food-service industry. This means that no restaurant or business selling food can serve that food out of a Styrofoam product, including containers, plates, beverage cups, meat or vegetable trays, cutlery, or egg cartons. However, there are some temporary exceptions to this part of the law: Businesses can still use small portion cups that require lids, and trays used for raw meat and fish as well as any food products that are prepackaged from the manufacturer with Styrofoam can still be sold until May 4, 2024.

Lastly, you may have noticed that at restaurants you have had to ask for a straw for your beverage. This is also due to this law, which states that unless the beverage is prepackaged with a straw, like juice boxes, the restaurant or business can no longer freely supply single-use plastic straws unless the customer requests them.

The boroughs of Avalon and Stone Harbor took the initiative to ban single-use plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam in 2019.

“The prohibition of single-use plastic bags and other single-use items involved many meetings and conversations with our environmental consults and required thoughtful explanation and input from our business community,” Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi said. “This was a significant component on our Clean Water Initiative to prevent plastics and other items from ending up in our waterways, resulting in a threat to marine life. I am pleased this program has been very successful and glad to see the state has created this law largely based on the success of municipal initiatives, including those in Avalon.”

Noncompliance to the new regulations will result first in a warning, then on second offense up to a $1,000-per-day fine. Third and subsequent violations are subject to fines of up to $5,000 per day. The Department of Environmental Protection and each municipality are authorized to uphold the new law.

For more information, visit nj.gov/dep.

The Hugh Merkle Team - COMPASS Office: 609-368-9100
374 96th Street, Stone Harbor
info@HughMerkle.com
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