Morristown, NJ

Tomorrow: NJ Plastic Bag Ban in Effect, What You Need To Know

Morristown Minute

Tomorrow, New Jersey’s plastic bag ban in effect.

Stores and restaurants barred from offering single-use plastic bags and foam products - effective May 4, 2022.


Starting May 4, 2022, New Jersey retail stores, grocery stores, and foodservice businesses may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam foodservice products.

Single-use paper carryout bags are allowed, except by grocery stores 2500 square feet or larger, which may only provide or sell reusable carryout bags.

Additionally, as of November 4, 2021, plastic straws may only be provided only upon the request of the customer.

“Plastics pollution has become one of the world’s most pressing environmental problems,” said Commissioner LaTourette. “Americans alone use some 100 billion plastic bags each year. While some of these bags are recycled, many end up in landfills and many more wind up as litter that is harmful to our communities, ecosystems, and wildlife.”

The NJ Clean Communities Council is collaborating with the State to educate the public and businesses through its BagUpNJ campaign.

“With the statewide bag ban quickly arriving on May 4, we are urging all New Jersey shoppers to get in the routine of bringing their own bags to the store every time they shop,” said Clean Communities Council Executive Director JoAnn Gemenden. “It’s all about creating new habits. Remember to keep your reusable bags in a convenient location where you won’t forget them – and get used to using them, as we work together for a cleaner, litter-free New Jersey.”

As the state prepares for the new law to take effect, the New Jersey Department of Environmental protection offers the following guidelines.

What you need to know

Supermarkets and grocery stores

These stores will no longer provide single-use plastic bags or paper bags for your groceries.

Bring your own reusable bags or purchase them at the store. (Stores under 2,500 square feet may still provide paper bags.)

Reusable bags should be made of washable fabric; have stitched handles; be designed and manufactured for multiple reuses. Reusable bags are available at most grocery stores and retailers, as well as through online merchants.

These stores will still be allowed to provide plastic bags to hold loose items such as uncooked meats, fruit, vegetables, flowers, greeting cards, and other loose items.

Every store will have its own rules that comply with the law. For more information, contact the store.

If you have single-use plastic bags at home, you may bring them to use when you shop. It is only the grocery store that is unable to provide single-use plastic or paper bags upon checkout.


Takeout customers should be prepared to be given single-use paper bags as well as some hot food plastic bags that are used to hold items such as soup and chili.

It is recommended that customers bring their own reusable bags in case the restaurant is no longer providing single-use paper bags. You may still receive your food in a paper bag at drive-through restaurants, but plastic bags will no longer be allowed.

You may still get plastic utensils with meal orders as in the past. Sit-down restaurants may provide “doggie bags” made of any material except polystyrene foam.

Retail stores

Retail stores of any size may provide customers with single-use paper bags but may not provide single-use plastic bags.

Pharmacies can provide customers with single-use paper bags and can also use plastic bags to hold prescriptions.

Food Pantries and Food Banks

Food pantries and food banks will have until Nov. 4 to comply with the plastic bag provisions of the law. The Clean Communities Council will provide them with 500,000 reusable bags for distribution. They may continue to provide paper bags.

What you need to know about polystyrene foam food-service containers

  • You will no longer be able to purchase plates, cups, or utensils made from polystyrene foam. You will still be able to purchase plastic utensils and plastic or paper plates and cups.
  • For the next two years, certain foam foodservice products will be exempt from the law: Raw and deli-sliced meats, poultry and fish trays, portion cups of two ounces or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids. Food pre-packaged by the manufacturer in a polystyrene foam container also is permitted for sale.
  • Polystyrene foam foodservice products such as ice cream cups, coffee cups, and soup containers will be prohibited. Food delivery will no longer be able to be served or delivered in polystyrene (foam). This food may be delivered in other materials such as plastic, paper, or aluminum products.
“It’s very important for all of us to work together to make a lasting difference in protecting our communities and environment from plastics pollution,” Commissioner LaTourette added. “If you haven’t already done so, you should stock up on reusable bags and start using them right away. It will make things so much easier in the long run – and you will feel great about doing it.”


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