New Jersey businesses would be prohibited from giving their customers either paper or plastic single-use bags to carry their purchases in or polystyrene food containers for restaurant leftovers or takeout orders under legislation approved by the Senate Thursday.

The bill would also limit use of plastic straws. They would still be allowed, but could not be offered by the business, only provided at a customer’s request.

Businesses would get one warning, then face fines of up to $1,000 for a second offense and $5,000 for each violation after that. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), municipalities and counties certified under the “County Environmental Health Act” would have the authority to enforce the provisions of the bill if it becomes law.

Senate passage was expected. Senators approved a similar ban last session, and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Bob Smith, who is also chairman of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee, said he would push for the same bill in the new one.

What happens in the Assembly is much less certain. Last session, the Senate passed its version of the bill, but it never received a vote in the Assembly.

According to an article in, New Jersey would be the first state to ban both plastic and paper bags. New York’s plastic bag ban, which recently took effect, allows for paper bags but requires a 5-cent charge for them.

Complicating the issue is the fact that a number of municipalities and counties have enacted their own bans with different requirements, penalties and timetables.

20 responses to “Ban on Single-use Bags Clears Senate”

  1. Michael Foglia says:

    How about plastic bags for soiled diapers? Has any of these legislators given consideration to the parents of infants and toddlers or seniors?

    My mother is 99 and her care taker is always looking for plastic bags.


  2. Joe says:

    This is just idiotic!!
    What are these people thinking? Are we supposed to carry bags in our pockets now? Have we lost all common sense in our efforts to be the “greenest “ state in the country?

    • Donna says:

      They waste their time on idiotic bans instead of spending time in more important topics. They need to justify their high salaries and all the PTO they have accrued. What damage do bags have done to mankind? With kids bags are needed to carry your groceries and your hands to hold on to your toddlers.

    • Joel Globus says:

      Bring a reusable container, like you get with Fresh Direct. Bring your bag/container to the super market. It is said, by 2025 the plastic in the oceans will outweigh the fish.

  3. Steve says:

    I can’t wait for some lawyer to sue the state because some toddler runs across the parking lot trying to fetch a can rolling away because someone dropped a can and it rolled away.

    Our legislature is ignoring the looming unfunded liabilities, but they have time for this. Good thinking.

    I love this state, it has the best of everything, but ultimately I will have to leave because my guns, my dirt bike, my animals, my business, and especially my income are all in their sights.

    Businesses are fleeing to PA to escape NJ and NY, but they too are in for a rude awakening as Philly and Pittsburgh decide what is best for everyone.

  4. I am proud that NewJersey has taken such a bold step forward to protect our environment. This should be done nation wide.

  5. Curtis Kaye says:

    When are the voters of this state going to learn their lesson. We must go to the polls and vote every one of the morons out of office. Enough already By the way, I was advised that after a few uses, the reusable bags are not sanitary, they are germ-ridden, will carry viruses, they use up more resources to produce and they will take up as much room in the landfills.

  6. N Jeffrey says:

    And what about cleaning up after dogs? Many municipalities insist that people clean up after the dogs poop on sidewalks, grassy areas and parks. In fact, cleaning up poop and disposing of it properly is considered environmentally sound. Without plastic poop bags, dogs will be free to use any public area as a toilet and their owners will be absolved of the responsibility to clean up after them. I wonder if these legislators every stepped on poop.

  7. Diane says:

    So pissed with this idea. I have two cats and a dog, I use these bags to get rid of cat poop and litter and to pick up after my dog poop. Now if I was irresponsible pet owner I would be fined for that. What the heck is wrong with these legislators. So which part of the environment they want to protect against plastic bags or cat and dog poop. How about working on reducing taxes in this great state.

  8. Dave says:

    They should worry about the important things in life. Go back to paper, oh right the environmentalist complained about the trees. Just cant win. So why not ban paper coffee cups and then plastic tops, just put everyone out of business!! Wonder why people are leaving Jersey!!

  9. Donald A Ferguson says:

    What constitutes a single use bag? If I give out bags and tell people to re-use them for their next visit (wink-wink) then it’s not a single use bag.

  10. Barb says:

    I guess I’ll carry an Amazon cardboard box with me every store I go into and if we all do the same we’ll be bumping into each other from the left and the right. Give me a break! Murphy has passed 19 employment laws so far this year. It’s already unreasonable to own a business in this state, but it’s becoming unbearable to be a resident too. Pretty soon their stupid laws won’t apply to anyone – because we’ll all be long gone!!

  11. Rhonda says:

    Bravo! Long overdue. Grocery totes and reusable water bottles are so much better – they hold more and reduce waste. You won’t miss the plastics! Get use to it. The entire world is heading in this direction. They entire country of India just did.

    • Karen says:

      And the entire country if India is a cess pool. You can breath the air there. Even born citizens there that have come to the US can’t go back because of the pollution. Maybe the animal droppings, that others are complaining about here, has something to do with it. Sure let’s follow their example, really. This bill is over the top.

  12. Ken says:

    Use your vote! Nonsense.
    Promoting 1950’s tech, unsanitary. Reusable Coronavirus vehicles. Brilliant!
    Now I have to buy imported bags so I can use them for all the re purpose uses of the thin disposables. Nice!
    BTW, lets raise the minimum wage to $25.00 or $50.00 per hr. People need more money (and votes). Awesome nothing has consequences.
    Ban everything!
    Vote Democratic!!

  13. Glen says:

    The first time a grocery store is infested with bed bugs or incurs some other vile consequence like salmonella due to someone bringing their filthy reusable bag in to the store we’ll see what these legislators suggest.

  14. Lucille Moss says:

    As usual, the people not living in the real world are making decisions which effect all of us who do. I love this state but the rules and regulations are so burdensome, I wonder how long any of us will be able to tolerate them all. The real answer is municipal compost facilities to be built and handle all the biodegradeable products now on the market to use to take out and packaging. But that would be way too much for legislators to take on – it would require planning and funding, responsible budgeting, etc .These votes from those in ivory towers are easier and make it look like they are actually doing something. Murphy hates businesses – not sure where he plans to get his tax dollars when businesses are all gone.

  15. Capt. Obvious Jr. says:

    We are in the midst of an apparent global pandemic, and our illustrious legislators are crafting new and innovative ways of spreading food borne pathogens. The problem of plastics pollution in the oceans, is not caused by this country. The culprits are on the other side of the globe. Just a means of more government control, under the guise of do gooder politicians enacting faux civic mindedness, in reality, knee jerk reactionary legislation.

  16. Margaret says:

    Perhaps instead of a 5 or 10-cent punishment for using plastic bags, the governor should consider giving people 5 cents for using recyclable bags. People are much more receptive to a positive suggestion than a negative one. Those who do not want single-use bags can receive money for using their bags. Those who don’t care or forget their bags are not punished. Positive reinforcement is always better than negative. In my town right now, people are charged 10 cents for a bag. Who benefits from the 10 cents? Some big box stores have no bags, but a shopper can pick up a box that is leftover from stocking the shelves to use to hold their purchase. What do the grocery stores do with their boxes? If I go to the drug store and pick up a number of small supplies, it is not possible to carry them all outside. It’s worse if little children are with you or if it’s raining. Obviously, our governor does not do his own grocery shopping! I use my bags in wastebaskets in the house and my kitchen garbage can. I will have to purchase plastic bags for my wastebaskets and kitchen trash bags. I will have to purchase small bags for dirty diapers and pet waste. My newspaper comes in a plastic bag. All of those are single-use. I have no intention of reusing the bag with the dirty diaper in it again. Some of the bags from the grocery store have holes by the time I get home. Those go back to the grocery store to be added to their plastic bag recycle bin along with the bags that wrap my rolls of paper towels and toilet paper. My fresh fruit and vegetables are placed in a plastic bag. My bread comes in a plastic bag. My cold cuts come in a plastic bag. My milk comes in a plastic carton. All of these are also single-use and then get recycled. Why am I not allowed to carry them out of the store in a plastic recyclable plastic bag? It makes no sense.