On November 4, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy signed S864, a legislation prohibiting the use of single-use plastic and paper bags in all stores and food service businesses in the state.
Murphy is aware of some of the damage that plastic and paper use has done to the world stating, “plastic bags [lead] to millions of discarded bags that stream annually into our landfills, rivers, and oceans” (Murphy).
While the bill takes a major step toward the reduction of plastic and paper use on the planet, the legislation is still not set to be in effect until May 2022 and there are several exemptions from the rule including bags that wrap raw meat, bags used for produce, bags holding fish or insects from pet stores, dry cleaning and newspaper bags, and bags which carry prescription drugs.
Beginning November of 2021, food service businesses will be restricted from handing out plastic straws unless being requested by a customer. Even though it doesn’t totally ban plastic straws, the state will definitely see a major cut back in the production and use of these common forms of litter.
Businesses that break these rules will see consequences in fines over $1,000 exceeding a first violation. These fines are set to go to Clean Communities Program Fund, a fund which pays for litter clean up all across the state.