NJ goes green with plastic bag ban

Spring will be the season for a cleaner environment and a greener state.

Photo courtesy of Ivan Radic (CC BY 2.0)

Spring will be the season for a cleaner environment and a greener state.

New Jersey will ban the use of plastic bags across the state’s grocery stores and foodservice businesses as of May 4 and replace them with reusable bags in order to promote environmentalism, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Reusable bags will be provided for customers at each store and will be made of polypropylene fabric, PET nonwoven fabric (recycled polyester fabric), nylon, cloth or hemp product. These bags will all be washable and reusable for every store trip. Fabrics like polypropylene fabric are eco-friendly, easy to wash and moisture resistant. These bags also come with stitched handles. 

Including New Jersey, about 10 states have passed laws to ban plastic bags. California passed theirs in 2014 for many economic and environmental reasons in order to improve life on earth. These bans help prevent pollution of oceans and reduce the costly and ineffective plastic bag recycling method, according to environmentalist group Clean Water Action. 

These stores and businesses will also be prohibited to use polystyrene foam products on May 4 and are required to sell mostly reusable straws to customers starting on Nov. 4. Plastic straws will only be sold to customers upon request. Otherwise, single-use plastic straws will become the new norm. 

The consequence of violating these laws will be a warning on the first offense and a fine up to $1,000 per day for the second offense. For a third offense, this fine could go up to $5,000 per day. 

These laws will be enforced under the Country Environmental Health Act. New Jersey is striving for the goal of keeping the earth clean and making the environment more eco-friendly for state residents and wildlife.