A provision of New Jersey’s commitment to reduce plastics pollution statewide will take effect on Thursday, Nov. 4 when food-service businesses may provide single-use plastic straws to a customer only upon request, the Department of Environmental Protection and NJ Business Action Center announced today.

Food-service businesses includes all restaurants, convenience stores and fast-food businesses, each of which must also educate their employees and customers about the restriction. Consumers will still be able to purchase packages of straws and beverages prepackaged with a straw, such as juice boxes, after Nov. 4.

The restriction on single-use plastic straws is part of a broader state law enacted in 2020 banning the sale or provision of single-use plastic carryout bags from stores and food-service businesses; single-use paper carryout bags from grocery stores larger than or equal to 2,500 square feet; and use of polystyrene foam food-service products. These additional provisions of the law take effect on May 4, 2022 and will supersede any established local laws at that time.

“When we move beyond single-use plastics, we can reduce our reliance on the fossil fuels that create plastic, remove a source of litter from our communities, and protect wild and marine life from the harm of ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic products,” DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said.

In May of 2022, the New Jersey Plastic Pollution Reduction Act will serve as one of the strongest plastic bag bans in our country. To stay ahead of this legislation, the Mercer County Office of Economic Development and the Department of Planning created a webinar to discuss this new law with State officials from the Business Action Center and the New Jersey Clean Communities.View the webinar at https://youtu.be/UrdKL8RY5yU

The DEP, NJ Business Action Center and the NJ Clean Communities Council are working together to help businesses and communities understand and comply with the law.  A new website at www.nj.gov/dep/plastic-ban-law/ includes helpful information for regulated entities, including a Frequently Asked Questions page, a list 7f establishments and how the law impacts them, a copy of the law, and more.

Additionally, the NJ Business Action Center has created a clearinghouse at https://business.nj.gov/bags/vendorclearinghouse to aid businesses in identifying vendors and manufacturers who sell the reusable carryout bags permitted by the new law.