Plastic use and bans on single-use plastic, particularly plastic bags, have become a hot topic over the last few years. The convenience that these types of products provide is outweighed by the damage they do to the planet. Plastic bags don't biodegrade over time, and they have become a real problem as they build up in landfills, clog waterways, and accumulate in the ocean. Even worse, incineration and photodegradation of these bags release harmful chemicals into the air, water, and ground. More states are adopting bans and placing other strict limitations on the use of plastic materials to encourage consumers to opt for sustainable and reusable alternatives that reduce our overall environmental footprint. JungleVine® tote bags are the most genuinely eco-friendly bags on the planet. They’re made using 100% sustainable JungleVine® fiber, which is harvested from a wild-growing perennial vine that grows without any agricultural inputs and regrows rapidly—more than 30 cm (1 foot) per week—immediately after harvest.
New Jersey Plastic Bag Ban Specifics
New Jersey has recently made the news for its decision to ban single-use carryout plastic bags along with plastic straws, and polystyrene foam (styrofoam) food service containers. The ban went into effect on May 4, 2022, and states that no store, grocery store, or food service business is permitted to provide or sell these products. Large grocery stores of 2,500 square feet or more are required to provide or sell only reusable bags. Smaller grocery stores, retailers, and food service businesses are permitted to use single-use paper bags. Plastic straws can only be provided at the express request of the customer.
This recently instated Single-Use Plastics Reduction Law supersedes prior laws set by counties or cities, and all people and entities are expected to comply with the new regulations.
Defining Targeted Businesses
Stores refer to any establishment that sells goods for customers to carry out, such as a convenience store, clothing store, pharmacy, liquor store, and any other retail business. Food services businesses refer to more than just restaurants and include any establishment that provides or sells food for carryout or on-site consumption. Coffee shops, movie theaters, vending carts, and cafeterias are some examples.
Regulations for Approved Carryout Bags
Reusable carryout bags available for purchase or use at any business must meet the following guidelines:
• Designed for 125 or more reuses
• Stitched handles
• Made from polypropylene fabric, hemp, cloth, nylon, PET nonwoven fabric, and other washable fabrics
Any person or entity that is found in violation of the new plastic ban receives a warning for their first offense. A fine of up to $1,000 per day can be issued for a second offense, and a fine of up to $5,000 per day for a third offense and beyond. The new single-use plastic ban is enforced by The Department of Environmental Protection, entities certified by the "County Environmental Health Act," and all municipalities.
Eight More U.S. States with Bans on Single-Use Plastic Bags
The recent news coming from New Jersey isn't the first time that a state has taken action to reduce plastic waste. These eight other states already have single-use plastic bag bans in place:
• New York
Still more states are considering placing bans, or are in the process of implementing them. Even in places without a statewide ban, more cities and counties across the nation are deciding to regulate single-use plastic and enact bans on products like plastic straws and bags.
Choose the Eco-Friendly Alternative to Single-Use Plastic Bags
It's no secret that single-use plastic has a profound and negative impact on the environment. Plastic pollution is a serious issue that affects everyone. Learn how to do your part to protect the planet, and your health, by making smarter, sustainable choices. Even if your state doesn't have a ban in place, choose the eco-friendly path with reusable JungleVine® Eco-Friendly Totes.
These stylish, handmade tote bags are made of handspun JungleVine® fiber and crafted by indigenous Khmu artisans from villages in northern Laos. The plant fibers are remarkably strong and durable, and the finished bags are completely plastic-free and cotton-free.