Plastic straws are now on demand only in New Jersey – NBC New York
What there is to know
- The first step in New Jersey’s plastic ban goes into effect Thursday, when single-use plastic straws are no longer supplied to restaurants or other food businesses, unless customers request them directly
- The next major step begins on May 4 and targets single-use plastic and paper bags as well as disposable food containers and styrofoam cups.
- Non-compliance is accompanied by a warning for a first offense and fines of up to $ 1,000 per day for the second offense. Third and subsequent violations result in penalties of up to $ 5,000 per day
Do you like to swallow your drink in a restaurant with a colored plastic straw? As of Thursday, you won’t get one in New Jersey unless you specifically request it.
It’s the first step in the Garden State’s progressive plastic ban, which the governor enacted a year ago. Catering companies are allowed to keep a supply of single-use plastic straws on hand – and stores may continue to sell wrappers or prepackaged items like juice boxes that contain them in the future.
Gov. Phil Murphy signed the bill last November, a move his office described at the time as the strongest such ban in the country. More intense elements of the law will come into effect in the spring, targeting single-use plastic and paper bags as well as disposable food containers and styrofoam cups.
As of May 4, stores, including retail, grocery, drugstore and food stores, are prohibited from selling single-use plastic take-out bags or giving them to customers. Grocery stores larger than 2,500 square feet cannot sell single-use paper take-out bags and instead may supply or sell only reusable take-out bags.
To be considered a reusable carry bag, the bag must be made of polypropylene fabric, PET non-woven fabric, nylon, fabric, hemp product or other washable fabric; and have sewn-in handles. It should also be designed for multiple uses.
Also as of May 4, restaurants will no longer be able to sell or offer styrofoam catering products, nor to sell or provide food served in such a product.
The following products will be exempt for an additional two years after May 2022:
- Long-handled polystyrene foam disposable soda spoons when needed and used for thick drinks;
- Serving size of cups of two ounces or less, if used for hot foods or foods requiring lids;
- Meat and fish trays for raw or cut meat, including poultry, or fish which is sold from a refrigerator or similar retail appliance;
- Any food product prepackaged by the manufacturer with a Styrofoam catering product; and
- Any other polystyrene foam food service product as determined necessary by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Non-compliance is accompanied by a warning for a first offense and fines of up to $ 1,000 per day for the second offense. The third and subsequent violations result in penalties of up to $ 5,000 per day. Learn more about the plastic law here.