NEW JERSEY (PIX11)— The New Jersey single-use plastic and paper bag ban will go into effect next week.
Seventy percent of Garden State residents were cognizant of the upcoming change at their local supermarkets , but only 28% of the public knew they wouldn’t be able to use paper bags for their groceries, according to a recent Monmouth University poll.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed the law banning the bags two years ago in order to reduce the pollution caused by these items.
Take a look at what the ban means for New Jersey shoppers.
Plastic-bag ban goes into effect next week
Starting May 4, retailers, grocery stores and foodservice businesses will not provide plastic bags in their stores. Retailers include pharmacies, coffee shops, delis, vending trucks or carts, food trucks, movie theaters, convenience stores, etc. Eateries are not permitted to provide or sell polystyrene foam foodservice products.
What is a reusable bag?
A reusable bag is made of a washable cloth or hemp product. It must have stitched handles and be designed for multiple reuses. This law does not require that customers purchase reusable carryout bags.
Violators can be charged hefty fines
A person or establishment that violates the law will be warned for a first offense, could be fined up to $1,000 per day for the second offense, and $5,000 per day for three or more violations. The Department of Environmental Protection enforces the law.
Some plastic bags are exempt from the ban
Bags used to carry or wrap meats, vegetables and fruits are allowed, as well as bags that contain live animals like fish or insects from pet stores; bags used to carry prescription drugs; laundry and dry cleaning garment bags; and bags used to deliver newspapers.
Food pantries and non-profit businesses given extension on ban
While the plastic-bag ban applies to food pantries and other non-profit businesses, the state has granted them a six-month extension from the mandate. Food banks and pantries may continue to provide single-use plastic bags to customers until Nov. 4.
New Jersey SNAP/EBT benefits cannot be used to purchase bags
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, NJ SNAP benefits/EBT cards cannot be used to purchase non-food items like a reusable bag or single-use plastic bag. There is no requirement for grocery stores to provide free reusable bags to customers.