Most grocery stores in New Jersey will not be allowed to distribute single-use plastic or paper bags.
The rule applies to grocery stores 2,500 square feet or more.
Customers can bring their own bags or buy reusable bags.
There are a few exceptions, including product bags, which will still be allowed.
Some customers already have the habit of bringing their own bags.
“Just the environment and the plastic bags start piling up and you can recycle them, but I always forget, so I started using them,” said Karen Batterman of Cherry Hill.
In Medford, Binkley’s 5 & 10 had 5,000 custom reusable bags made to sell to customers who forget to bring their own.
“We’re trying to phase out our plastic bags. It’s been difficult because you don’t know – should you order more?” asked manager Nicole Hunt. “We’ve noticed a lot of people haven’t even heard of it yet, so we’re going to make signs and put them up and hopefully warn people before it happens.”
Restaurants can still use paper bags for takeout, but no single-use plastic bags and no polystyrene containers.
Riviera Pizza in Medford Lakes has already made the switch.
“We’re already using cardboard. We haven’t used Styrofoam in over a year,” said manager Debbie Parola, who says cardboard and reusable plastic containers seem to keep food fresher anyway. .
Some consumers are not satisfied.
“Every time they create new laws, our freedoms are taken away more,” said Mike Green of Vincentown, adding that he thinks the new laws are inconsistent and confusing.
However, environmental scientists at the University of Stockton say getting rid of sustainable single-use plastic bags will benefit New Jersey’s ecosystems and animals.
“If they wrap around wild animals, if they wrap around a bird’s neck, if they wrap around a turtle, they won’t let go. They will literally strangle that animal “, said Professor Patrick Hossay, chair of the Department of Sustainable Development and Energy Sciences for the University of Stockton.
“When they enter rivers and streams, they can actually create sort of blockages, dams. It can redirect rivers and streams, create damage to the way they flow. And again, they don’t degrade,” Hossay said. “They are there indefinitely.”
The new law has many elements for different retail scenarios.
More information about the ban can be found here: https://www.nj.gov/dep/get-past-plastic/
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