Governor Murphy Signs Law Banning Single Use Plastic & Paper Bags

Governor Phil Murphy today signed legislation into law banning single-use, plastic and paper bags.  The new law will be observed in all food service businesses and retail stores across the state beginning in May, 2022.  The law also bans disposable food containers and cups made from polystyrene foam.

The bill is intended to remove these items from our environment, as they can be very harmful to animals.  “Plastic bags are one of the most problematic forms of garbage, leading to millions of discarded bags that stream annually into our landfills, rivers, and oceans,” said Murphy. “With today’s historic bill signing, we are addressing the problem of plastic pollution head-on with solutions that will help mitigate climate change and strengthen our environment for future generations.”

Moving forward, the Governor said the aim is to utilize reusable bags.

Under the new law, food service businesses will be permitted to give single-use, plastic straws, only upon request from a customer beginning in November, 2021.

“From our cities to our shores, single-use plastic bags unnecessarily litter New Jersey’s most treasured spaces and pollute our ecosystems,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe. “By banning single-use plastic bags, Governor Murphy and our legislature continue to make a New Jersey a national leader in environmental protection and the DEP stands ready to implement these new measures and educate the public.”

According to a press release from the Governor’s Office,,the following products will be exempt for an additional two years after May, 2022:

  • Disposable, long-handled polystyrene foam soda spoons when required and used for thick drinks;
  • Portion cups of two ounces or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids;
  • Meat and fish trays for raw or butchered meat, including poultry, or fish that is sold from a refrigerator or similar retail appliance;
  • Any food product pre-packaged by the manufacturer with a polystyrene foam food service product; and
  • Any other polystyrene foam food service product as determined necessary by Department of Environmental Protection.