The days of getting a plastic straw automatically with any drink are over in New Jersey. In a bid to cut down on plastic pollution in the state, all coffee shops, restaurants, convenience stores and any other business that sells food can only give out plastic straws to customers who request them.

The new regulation is the first of several measures that are among the nation’s most wide-ranging ban on disposable plastic products. On May 4, 2022, all carry-out plastic bags will be banned along with polystyrene cups, plates, takeout cartons and other food containers made of the material often called Styrofoam. More details are below.

Plastic straws and stirrers are among the most common pieces of trash picked up every year by thousands of volunteers in Clean Ocean Action’s beach cleanups. More than 10,000 were picked up in one day last year, ranking it fifth among all types of trash collected from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Plastic straws are not recyclable.

“Straws are not going to disappear overnight from our sweeps,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of Clean Ocean Action, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group. “It’s something that’s going to take time for both restaurants and customers, but we’ll have a healthier planet, healthier oceans and healthier people at the end of it.”

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Authors: Scott Fallon and Amanda Oglesby,

Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash