Beyond Plastics ● Clean Ocean Action ● Clean Water Action ● Environment NJ
Save Barnegat Bay ● Sierra Club-NJ Chapter ● Surfrider Foundation
Environmental Leaders Cheer NJ Legislative Votes to Pass Single-use Waste Ban Bill
Legislation Now Strongest in the Country
Trenton – A coalition of environmental groups applauded the NJ Legislature’s passage of A1978/S864, now the strongest legislation in the country to reduce single-use plastics to clean-up our communities and the environment. The legislation passed the NJ Assembly with a vote count of 48-24-7-1. The legislation, which goes into effect in spring 2022, bans single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service ware, allows plastic straws on demand, and phases-out paper bags at large grocery stores.
“New Jersey Assembly voted to pass the strongest single-use ban on plastics in the country to prioritize our wildlife and our communities over endless plastic waste polluting our waterways,” said Doug O’Malley, director of Environment New Jersey. “Plastic and polystyrene items we use for 15 minutes should not end up in our environment and communities for endless generations. Polystyrene cannot be cost-effectively recycled on a mass scale and we need to transition to reusable bags. We urge Governor Murphy to sign this legislation as quickly as possible.”
“Now, we can all look forward to picking-up less trash on our beaches and during Clean Ocean Action’s bi-annual Beach Sweeps. There will be less plastics in the ocean to cause harm and death to marine life,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action.
“The New Jersey Legislature has just set the international standard today by banning single use carryout bags and foam containers,” stated Amy Goldsmith, NJ State Director, Clean Water Action. “I could not be prouder of the hard work of the bill sponsors, our members and businesses who get that NJ’s future is not in disposables. Making this paradigm shift to reusables today, preventing waste rather than managing waste by the ton, is what we must do to protect our health, climate and planet.”
“This is a big win in our battle against plastic pollution. This bill will help protect our environment, our streams and rivers, as well as wildlife and public health. It will help defend us from microplastics that affect the environment and our drinking water. This legislation will actually save taxpayers money because of the cost of cleaning up storm drains, plastics jamming recycling machines, and tipping fees at landfills. This legislation is critical because it could make New Jersey a national leader in trying to stop the plastic menace while coming up with better alternatives,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “This is the most comprehensive plastic ban bill in the nation. We are the first state to ban paper bags as well as allow for hemp bags to be used. Today is a big day in our battle to protect our environment and save people money.”
“Thank you to the Assembly Members who stood up for our Ocean Waves and Beaches today by voting for A 1978. I remember the first ‘informal’ joint legislative hearing on plastic bags held by Senator Smith at the shore in the Lavallette First Aid building eight or nine years ago. So many people worked so hard throughout this long journey but today’s vote made it all worth it,” said John Weber Mid Atlantic Regional Manager with the Surfrider Foundation.
“This is the single most comprehensive plastics and paper reduction bill in the nation. Building on the success of local laws adopted throughout New Jersey to reduce plastic pollution, the NJ State Legislature listened to the people and not the polluters and embraced a sensible environmental strategy,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and President of Beyond Plastics.
“This is great news for the Jersey Shore! People have been catching ‘bag fish’ for way too many years. We owe our legislators a debt of gratitude for standing up and being leaders in the nation. Many of our shore towns have already been proactive in adopting local ordinances and it is refreshing to see forward movement in Trenton on reducing single use waste,” said Britta Forsberg-Wenzel, Executive Director of Save Barnegat Bay.