Plastic bags baled
© Huguette Roe -

New Jersey legislators push to ban both plastic, paper bags

The New Jersey state Senate passed a ban on single-use bags and polystyrene carryout containers across the state.


The New Jersey state Senate voted to ban single-use bags as well as Styrofoam and takeout containers across the state on March 5. The bill, S864, prohibits the provision or sale of single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, polystyrene foam foodservice products as well as single-use plastic straws. It also would appropriate money from the state’s Clean Communities Program Fund for public education. 

According to a news release shared on, the ban would take effect 18 months after receiving the governor’s signature, and it would make straws available only upon request after one year. If the bill becomes law, New Jersey would become the first state to ban both plastic and paper carryout bags.

According to the bill, “since 1950, global annual production of plastics has increased from 2 million tons to over 381 million tons; that approximately one-third of all plastics produced are single-use plastics, which are plastics designed to be used only once and then thrown away; and that an estimated 100 billion single-use plastic carryout bags and 25 billion Styrofoam plastic coffee cups are thrown away in the United States each year.” The bill also states that “in 2017, only 8.4 percent of plastics in the United States were recycled” and “most single-use plastics are disposed of in landfills, are incinerated or become litter in waterways and oceans.” 

Based on those findings, the bill states that “the legislature therefore determines that it is no longer conscionable to permit the unfettered use and disposal of single-use plastics in the state; that New Jersey must do its part to minimize plastic pollution in the ocean, and to ensure that future generations have a clean and healthy environment to live, work and recreate in.” According to the bill, “single-use paper carryout bags use as much or more energy and resources to manufacture and transport than single-use plastic carryout bags and contribute to harmful air emissions.”

S864 has passed in the New Jersey state Senate; however, reports that it still needs the New Jersey state Assembly to pass its own version of the law and have the governor sign it before it’s enacted.