Single-Use Plastic Bag Ban Forces NJ Manufacturers to Develop Alternative Options
Time To Shift Production to Eco-Friendly Bags and Takeout Containers
The single-use plastic bag ban is less than two months away for businesses operating throughout the Garden State. ‘MADE in New Jersey’ manufacturers that produce single-use plastic bags for retailers and restaurants will be directly impacted by the state-wide ban. These businesses must get ready to shift to include eco-friendly bag options once the law goes into effect on May 4th.
The ban has been rolling out across the country in various cities and states as part of a green initiative to reduce plastic waste from entering the environment. It was created as a response to the harmful impacts single-use plastic bags have on oceans, waterways, forests, and the wildlife that inhabit them. This also cuts down on the vast amounts of waste piling up at landfills that create a challenge for waste management.
Grocery stores, convenience stores, and other businesses are encouraged to use reusable carryout bags as an alternative option. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), reusable carryout bags are considered those made of polypropylene fabric, PET non-woven fabric, nylon, cloth, hemp, or other washable fabrics; have stitched handles and are designed for at least 125 reuses are permitted. Part of the ban (with a few exemptions) includes the use of polystyrene foam foodservice products. In addition, single-use plastic straws will only be provided to customers who ask.
As more states implement bans on single-use plastic bags, polystyrene foam service products, and the possibility of single-use plastic straws, there will be a growing demand for alternative products to help New Jersey’s restaurants, markets, retail stores, and many other businesses operate. This presents an opportunity for ‘MADE in New Jersey’ manufacturing businesses to contribute to New Jersey’s efforts to help the environment by producing reusable products. Those that currently manufacture disposable plastic bags are in a difficult position, facing a forced decrease in demand. To offset this massive disruption, businesses must transition to offering reusable products as a substitute.
A wholesale vendor list has been set up for manufacturers and distributors that produce bags and foodservice products that meet state standards as a resource. Businesses can register to be placed on the list through New Jersey Business Action Center’s (NJBAC) website.
The DEP, municipalities, and any certified entity are authorized to enforce the law. Penalties can be costly for businesses caught not complying, including up to $5,000 per day for multiple violations. NJMEP (New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program) is working with small/medium manufacturers to assist manufacturing businesses as they navigate these new rules and ensure facilities are ready to meet the demand for eco-friendly bags and takeout containers. It’s vital domestic manufacturers take advantage of every partner possible to avoid costly disruptions or penalties from the newly proposed legislation.