In a win for wildlife and waterways, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the strongest single-use plastics ban in the nation into law today. Going into effect early Spring 2022, the new law will ban single-use plastics bags and polystyrene, restrict straws to on-request only and phase out paper bags at larger grocery stores.
Since plastics legislation was introduced more than two years ago, many other states, including New York, have passed legislation which includes components of New Jersey’s now-signed law. Currently, 8 states ban single-use plastic bags, four states have banned polystyrene foam foodware, and three states have implemented a straw-by-request policy.
Local municipal campaigns laid the groundwork for the statewide measure. In total, 55 municipalities in the Garden State had passed and implemented local laws reducing single-use plastics – with more than 1 million New Jerseyans living in towns and counties that had already taken action to address the plastic pollution crisis before the state bill was passed.
Alex Truelove, Zero Waste director for U.S. PIRG, issued the following statement: “Disposable plastic items we use for a few minutes should not pollute our environment and communities for countless generations. Neither plastic bags nor polystyrene foam are easily recyclable. We need to transition to reusable alternatives and New Jersey has shown us the first step.”
Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey, added: “Gov. Murphy signed the strongest single-use ban on plastics in the country to prioritize our wildlife and our communities over endless plastic waste polluting our waterways. We are deeply thankful for Gov. Murphy’s leadership. Two years ago, the governor vetoed a half-measure plastics bag bill to hold out for a more comprehensive ban. We are thrilled that New Jersey can be a national leader in reducing single-use waste.”