New Jersey Celebrates Success of Single-Use Plastic Restrictions One Year On


One Year Later: Murphy Administration Lauds Decrease in Single-Use Plastics and Litter Reduction in New Jersey.

One year after the implementation of a law restricting single-use plastics in New Jersey, the Murphy Administration is applauding the significant decrease in the use of these products and the resulting reductions in litter. 

Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn M. LaTourette announced the positive effects of the law, which went into effect on May 4, 2022, preventing grocery stores and retail establishments from providing single-use plastic bags to customers and limiting the use of other products, such as paper carryout bags and polystyrene foam food containers.

“New Jersey’s initiative to step up and say no to continued plastics pollution in our communities and waterways is worthy of celebration because we have quickly seen the positive effects of this law,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “Removing single-use plastics, paper bags, and foam food containers from our waste stream keeps our communities clean and protects aquatic and marine life as well as wildlife.”

Between May and December 2022, the New Jersey Food Council reported that 5.5 billion single-use plastic bags and 110 million single-use paper bags were eliminated from the waste stream and environment by its 2,000 grocery store members. 

Additionally, there has been a more than 37% decrease in single-use plastics, including plastic bags, foam food containers, and straws, found as litter along the Jersey shore. The number of plastic straws purchased by convenience stores for distribution to customers also decreased, from 17 million to 2 million per month.

93% of grocery stores in NJ do not offer plastic bags.

The success of the legislation has received praise from various officials, including Senator Bob Smith, who said, “New Jersey is cleaner and greener because of New Jersey citizens’ efforts to keep plastics out of the environment.” 

The Plastics Advisory Council, comprising 16 Governor-appointed members, has presented a report to the state Legislature detailing the key metrics in conjunction with the law's first anniversary.

The DEP and its partner agencies will continue to focus on educating the public about the value and importance of reducing the use of and reliance on plastic products, as well as overall waste reduction, to enhance environmental stewardship.

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