The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder

The Town Crier - Legislative Backgrounder

Apr 08

[ARCHIVED] New Jersey Bans Single-Use Plastic Products to Begin May 4

The original item was published from April 8, 2022 11:00 AM to April 8, 2022 11:02 AM

Starting on Wednesday, May 4, New Jersey will implement the Single-Use Plastic Reduction Law (P.L 2020, C.117), which bans single-use plastic bags, straws, and polystyrene foam foodservice products. The law states that New Jersey businesses are banned from providing or selling single-use plastic products, except for providing a plastic straw upon request to comply with federal ADA regulations.

Grocery stores 2,500-square-feet or larger, restaurants, retail stores, and pharmacies will no longer be permitted to provide customers with single-use plastic bags or other products except for loose items such as produce, greeting cards, and flowers. Polystyrene foam will be available for raw meat, poultry, fish, or pre-packaged items by a manufacturer. Polystyrene exemptions will expire on May 4, 2024.

The following products will be  exempted for an additional two years after May 2022:  

  • Disposable, long-handled polystyrene foam soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks;
  • Portion cups of two ounces or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids;
  •  Meat and fish trays for raw or butchered meat, including poultry, or fish that is sold from a refrigerator or similar retail appliance;
  • Any food product pre-packaged by the manufacturer with a polystyrene foam foodservice product; and
  • Any other polystyrene foam foodservice product as determined necessary by Department of Environmental Protection.

Any entity that violates P.L. 2020, C.117 will be warned for a first offense, fined up to $1,000 a day for a second offense, and fined up to $5,000 a day for each subsequent offense. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and all municipalities are authorized to enforce the Single-Use Plastic Reduction Law under the County Environmental Health Act.

The new law preempts all municipal and county rules, regulations, and ordinances pertaining to the distribution of single-use plastic items. The League recommends reviewing the NJDEP website on single-use plastics for further information. If further clarification is needed, we recommend contacting NJDEP directly by email at or by phone at 609-984-4250.

Contact: Andrew LaFevre, Legislative Analyst, , 609-695-3481 x116.