Law takes effect May 4 – NBC New York
Paper or plastic? As of Wednesday in New Jersey, the answer to that question is neither, so shoppers better bring bags from home to the grocery store.
Indeed, the state’s plastic bag ban is now in effect and goes beyond single-use plastic bags at the grocery checkout.
All grocery stores over 2,500 square feet will be banned from giving away or selling the plastic and paper bags that have been staples at checkouts for decades. Styrofoam containers, like those used for takeout, will also be banned as the nation’s toughest plastics laws come into effect.
Starting Wednesday, New Jerseyans will have to say goodbye to plastic and paper bags. Reporting by NBC New York’s Brian Thompson.
The ban applies to shops and restaurants, not consumers, who will still be able to buy plastic bags, trash bags, etc.
Clean Ocean Action has been fighting for decades to ban plastics which, light as they are, account for millions of pounds of waste each year, ending up in oceans and landfills without breaking down. The new law hopes to reduce the number of plastic bags used by New Jersey residents, which previously stood at around 4.4 billion per year.
Stew Leonards’ stores, like Paramus’, have been using eco-friendly paper bags for thirty years, but next week those too won’t be.
Starting May 4, plastic bags will no longer be distributed in many New Jersey stores, and in some places, paper bags will too. The ban also includes restaurant foam plates, containers and cups. Reporting by NBC New York’s Pat Battle.
“You can still use it for meats, produce. I think it’s a great way to take care of the environment, so New Jersey is trying to lead the charge on that and other states will soon follow. “said store manager Dane Morris. .
The store has spent months preparing its shoppers for the change, offering half-price reusable bags for the weeks before and after the change.
“We tell everyone because you don’t want them to be unprepared next week – pack the stuff in the cart and take it to their car,” cashier Vinny Serra said. “We tell them all when the ban starts, got the sign here, sign outside the store.”
Ellie Smart is a professional diver who was shocked by the plastic litter she encountered on otherwise spectacular beaches around the world. After getting caught in a plastic bag on her ankle while diving in Greece, she started the organization Clean Cliffs, which now recruits dozens of volunteers to clean up beaches and other sites around the world and raise awareness of the problem.
Some stores have been handing out free tote bags of groceries in recent days and weeks. While getting one isn’t exactly like winning the lottery, for most shoppers reusable bags will be essential for bringing home the bacon – along with all the other groceries.
Stores like Stop & Shop have said that after handing out free bags they will sell cheaper bags for just 50 cents, and the store suggests no customer will be denied a way to take their groceries home.
It will definitely take some getting used to, but when shoppers come in after next week, be prepared for BYOB (bring your own bag, that is) because the cashier won’t have a bag in which to put the groceries.
Those who wish to continue using their own paper or plastic bags can do so if they bring them themselves, but grocery stores themselves will no longer be able to provide them.