New Jersey restaurants will only be allowed to provide plastic straws upon request, beginning Nov. 4, under a new state law.
Food-service businesses affected by the restriction include all restaurants, convenience stores and fast-food businesses, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the NJ Business Action Center.
Consumers still may purchase packages of straws and beverages that are prepackaged with a straw, such as juice boxes.
“When we move beyond single-use plastics, we can reduce our reliance on the fossil fuels that create plastic, remove a source of litter from our communities, and protect wild and marine life from the harm of ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic products,” DEP Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette said in a press statement.
Law Requires Businesses to Educate Workers
The new state law, enacted in 2020, includes language requiring businesses to educate their employees and customers about the restriction on single-use, plastic straws.
Additionally, the law—beginning on May 4, 2022—bans the sale or provision of single-use plastic carryout bags from stores and foodservice businesses. On that same day, it prohibits the provision of single-use paper carryout bags from grocery stores larger than or equal to 2,500 square feet and instead allows them to provide or sell reusable carryout bags.
On finally, the law bars all persons and foodservice businesses from selling or offering for sale any polystyrene foam food service product and bars all foodservice businesses from selling or providing any food served in a polystyrene foam food service product starting next May.
Those violating New Jersey’s new restrictions on single-use plastics are subject to a warning for their first offense, a fine of up to $1,000 for a second offense, and a fine of up to $5,000 for a third offense.
Businesses affected by the law can go to a new website at www.nj.gov/dep/plastic-ban-law/ for information on how to comply with the new restrictions on single-use plastics. The website includes an FAQ section on New Jersey’s single-use plastic restrictions.