Starting Thursday (Nov. 4), restaurants, convenience stores and other food-service businesses must comply with a new state law that prohibits them from providing customers with single-use plastic drinking straws unless the customer has specifically requested one.

The new restriction does not impact the sale of beverages that are prepackaged with a plastic drinking straw, such as juice boxes, nor does it apply to the sale of boxes of straws in food stores.

The by-request-only restriction on plastic single-use drinking straws applies to all food-service businesses, including restaurants, convenience stores and fast-food establishments. It is part of a broader state law enacted in 2020 aimed at reducing pollution. Other provisions, which take effect May 4, 2022, include bans on single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags at grocery stores of 2,500 square feet or more, and polystyrene foam food-service products.

“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.

The DEP, NJ Business Action Center and the NJ Clean Communities Council are working together to help businesses and communities understand and comply with the law. A new website at www.nj.gov/dep/plastic-ban-law includes information for regulated entities, including a Frequently Asked Questions page, a list of establishments and how the law impacts them, and more.

Additionally, the NJ Business Action Center has created a clearinghouse at https://business.nj.gov/bags/vendorclearinghouse to aid businesses in identifying vendors and manufacturers who sell reusable carryout bags permitted by the new law.

To learn more about the Clean Communities Council’s Bag Up NJ campaign, visit www.bagupnj.com.