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Common Questions Answered About NJ Bag Ban Starting May 4

Common Questions Answered About NJ Bag Ban Starting May 4


May 2nd 2022

New Jersey’s plastic bag ban will go into effect on May 4, but questions still remain. Here are answers to some of the most-asked bag ban questions, based on the latest guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

What kind of bag can I bring to the store?

Any bag that works for you! No, really.

The law does not ban the types of bags customers can bring to the grocery store. If you have an entire kitchen cabinet filled with plastic bags, you’re a-OK to keep using them.
Canvas bags, laundry baskets, cardboard boxes, the reusable bags stores sell at the registers, all are fine for you to use under the law.  The law applies to what stores can give you. It doesn’t apply to what you can bring.

Shoppers can also wheel their orders out to their cars to put them directly in the trunk. If you shop at a wholesale club like Costco, think about how you manage those orders — same idea.

How is this going to affect my curbside grocery orders?

It might impact it less than you think, even though online grocery orders will not get an exception from the bag bans at grocery stores, the DEP said. They still cannot use single-use bags. Cardboard boxes are okay, the DEP said.

Most grocery stores in New Jersey told NJ Advance Media they plan on distributing a new set of reusable bags with every online order. Some stores will implement new fees to cover the bags, while some will not.
And for customers concerned with having too many reusable bags, Stop and Shop is working on setting up a bag return program, so any unwanted bags can be donated to food pantries, a spokesperson said.

Will there be any help for seniors?

Unlike other states with bag bans, New Jersey’s bag ban does not allow stores to charge for plastic bags — it just bans them outright. Any existing municipal laws that require stores to charge for bags will no longer be in effect after May 4.

There will be no fee waiver because there are no fees to waive, the DEP says.

Stores that are still allowed to hand out paper bags are not required by law to charge a fee. So any stores that do charge a fee are doing so as a private business decision, and the state can’t override that fee.

I’m a business owner and still have questions. Where can I find more information?

The NJBAC website is posting updates about the law, and the DEP website has a more general FAQ you can read through.

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