Law Bans Plastic in New Jersey
New Jersey has implemented one of the most advanced paper and plastic bag bans. Plastic bags of any thickness cannot be distributed by grocery stores or retailers, and paper bags are not permitted in businesses larger than 2,500 square feet. Although certain non-grocery retailers can still give paper bags, New Jersey is the first state to do so.
The law also prohibits restaurants and food distributors from using polystyrene foam packaging and complements a November 2021 law that requires plastic straws to be requested.
The ban limiting plastic and paper bags was signed in November 2020. The bill prevents municipalities and counties from enacting rules affecting plastic and paper bags, polystyrene, and straws, and any existing ordinances will be replaced following the phase-out timelines for the various goods.
According to the state, paper bags are included because they have a substantial environmental impact and require a lot of energy, water, and chemicals to manufacture.
Compared to grade bags, the bags require ten times the number of trucks to distribute, which increases emissions even more.
A lot of businesses, including ShopRite and Instacart, are charging flat prices for reusable bags for online orders. Amazon's Whole Foods will put goods in reusable bags for no extra charge.
According to reports, Target is also going bag-free in New Jersey and will give a 5-cent discount for each reusable bag used in the stores. Walmart, Target, and Kroger became members of the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag in 2020, investing more than $15 million in the programme.
Between 2018 and 2020, a World Wildlife Fund programme involving Starbucks, McDonald's, and Procter & Gamble claims to have decreased hard-to-recycle and single-use plastics by 57 per cent.
As examples of additional attempts to reduce single-use plastic, McDonald's in Canada began utilising paper straws at the end of last year. Yankee Stadium started using a biodegradable straw this season.
In 2016, California became the first state to prohibit merchants from using plastic bags. Californians Against Trash projected that plastic shopping bag waste has decreased by 72 per cent in the year following the law's implementation, compared to 2010 levels.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, ten states have plastic bag bans, while another 20 have preemptive legislation in place. According to the organisation, 95 bills were introduced in state legislatures in 2019, the majority of which prohibited or imposed taxes on plastic bags.
The measure in New Jersey creates a plastics advisory board under the Department of Environmental Protection in the state. The council will consist of 16 members, including four representatives from retail and foodservice establishments, who will monitor and evaluate the law's implementation.
Source: Environment + Energy Leader