Plastic pollution: Plastic straws are only allowed on request under new New Jersey state law

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) – New Jersey takes another step to reduce plastic pollution.

Starting Thursday, companies will only be allowed to supply single-use plastic straws to customers who request them.

Pre-packaged drinks with a straw, such as juice boxes, will still be allowed.

The restriction is part of a larger state law enacted last year.

READ MORE: New Jersey bans single-use plastic, paper bags in stores, food businesses

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy previously said the bill was an important step in reducing the pollution these products cause to the environment.

It is the strictest crackdown on the single use of plastics in the country.

“Plastic straws are great. I don’t see why we have to suck on pulp. It’s awful. Nobody likes them,” said Robert Borzotta of Cherry Hill.

The aim is to protect the environment.

The new bill also has an impact on plastic bags.

“Plastic bags are one of the most problematic forms of waste, resulting in millions of discarded bags that end up in our landfills, rivers and oceans each year,” Murphy said.

Arnie’s Gourmet and Butcher Shop planned well in advance. The store has converted to only using reusable bags, which they say will affect its bottom line.

“You can evaluate the option of getting thicker plastic bags for their customers, but they’re also three to four times more expensive,” Mark and Arnie Madrigale said. “It’s going to hit us out of pocket for sure.”

Affected businesses include restaurants, movie theaters and grocery stores. For businesses that do not comply, it is a fine of $ 1,000 for the first and second infractions.

For each subsequent violation, it is a fine of $ 5,000.

The money goes to the Clean Communities Program, which provides grants for garbage cleanup statewide.

Homeowners like Arnie Madrigale can understand.

“One way it’s polluting our seas and oceans. And landfills have excess plastic capacity,” Madrigale said.

In a restaurant, a guest must now specifically request a straw.

Ice Cream Parlor owner Richard Eckard in Cherry Hill said it was necessary. He will soon switch to paper straws.

“We had two spaceships in the solar system. Why can’t we make things that are biodegradable? Eckard asked.

Single-use plastic and paper bags, as well as disposable food containers and Styrofoam cups, will be banned from May 2022.

ONLINE: “Bag Up NJ” from the New Jersey Clean Communities Council

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Bryce K. Locke