Ban on Plastic Bags and Polystyrene Foam Products

Ban on Plastic Bags and Polystyrene Foam Products

The law banning plastic bags and polystyrene foam products will impact many businesses across the state. Get prepared by reading the requirements and finding vendors that offer reusable and sustainable alternatives.

Regulations and Resources

How does this law impact my business?

Starting May 4th, 2022, New Jersey retail stores, grocery stores and food service businesses may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products.  Single-use paper carryout bags are allowed to be provided or sold, except by grocery stores equal to or larger than 2,500 square feet, which may only provide or sell reusable carryout bags. After November 4th, 2021, plastic straws may be provided only upon the request of the customer. Find out if you are impacted by this ban.

Affected businesses must use reusable carryout bags that:

  1. Are made of polypropylene fabric, PET non-woven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp product, or other washable fabric, and
  2. Have stitched handles (either thread or ultrasonic, T-Shirt bags are permitted), and
  3. Are designed and manufactured for at least 125 reuses.

Learn more about the ban through the State FAQs or read the law.

View and download the Business Resource Guide for more information (English / Spanish)

Environmental Impact

With the ban, New Jersey takes a leadership role in addressing the problem of plastic pollution with solutions to protect the environment for future generations. Most single-use plastic carryout bags end up in landfills, are incinerated or accumulate in the environment. They litter and degrade the quality of waterways and oceans where they do not biodegrade, and through photodegradation release chemicals into the environment that are harmful to human health. This negatively impacts major contributors to the New Jersey economy such as the tourism, fishing, shipping industries and recreation.

Single-use paper carryout bags have been found to have a significant impact on the environment by requiring large inputs of water, energy, chemicals, and wood to produce them. Reusable carryout bags made of materials specified in the law provide a durable, hygienic, and environmentally-friendly alternative.

Additional Resources

To stay on track, read the banned bag and polystyrene foam ban timeline for all critical dates as defined by the law.  It is recommended that interested parties print a copy of this timeline and keep it posted in order to keep track of the deadlines.

If you need additional support, The New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) offers a live chat on this website from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The live chat is answered by New Jersey-based business experts who can assist in providing answers to your questions.

The NJBAC is also offering virtual “roundtables”, or webinars, available to all organizations interested in educating their constituencies about the new law. Please contact Melanie.Willoughby@sos.nj.gov to request a roundtable.

Organizing Agencies

The NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) is responsible for the overall implementation of the law including the adoption of implementing regulations. The NJDEP, along with Municipalities, CEHA and the Department of Health are responsible for enforcement of the law. In coordination with the NJDEP, the New Jersey Business Action Center (NJBAC) is responsible for communicating with all businesses their responsibilities for compliance under the law, and the New Jersey Clean Communities Council (NJCCC) is responsible for developing and implementing a Statewide public information and education program including limited distribution of free reusable bags.

Find Vendors and Alternatives to Banned Single Use Products

As a courtesy, the State has compiled a list of vendors who provide environmentally sound alternatives to single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, polystyrene foam food service products, and single-use plastic straws.

View List of Vendors

Wholesale Manufacturer and Distributor Sign-up

If you are a business that manufactures or distributes sustainable products that meet the NJ State standards, sign up to have your company added to the list wholesale vendors.

Sign Up