Make bags without being part of NJ’s plastic bag barrier, but consider these alternatives

Before the New Jersey plastic bag ban goes into effect on May 4, you’ll be wondering what more bags will be available at grocery stores and tellys – the shopping cart.

In particular, are the small loose plastic bags we usually find in the cylinders in product aisles still available?

When Governor Bill Murphy signed into law the new law in the fall of 2020, he said businesses in New Jersey would no longer be allowed to deliver disposable plastic bags, polystyrene food containers, plastic straws and paper bags in 18 months. The move is seen as a tough stance against single-use plastics in the country, as it bans paper bags in large grocery stores and many styrofoam containers.

When the ban starts, shoppers will have to bring their own carry-on bags, buy reusable bags or go without the bag.

But not all bags will be banned once the law comes into force.

Are small plastic bags for fruits and vegetables still available?

Yes. According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, exceptions to the plastic bag ban include:

  • Bag used only for packaging loose items such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, baked goods, candies, greeting cards, flowers, bulk foods or small hardware items.
  • Pie used only to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish or poultry.
  • Bag used only to keep live animals such as fish or insects sold at the pet store.
  • A bag used only to contain sliced ​​or prepared food to order, including soup or hot food.
  • A laundry, dry cleaner, or clothing bag.
  • Bag provided by a pharmacy to carry prescribed medications.
  • Bag for newspapers.
  • Any similar bag as determined by DEP in accordance with rule, regulation or guideline.

“Bags used for products are allowed under the new law and are still available for products,” Shobright spokeswoman Karen O’Shea said in a statement.

Related: The NJ’s strict ban on single-use bags will soon take effect. What do you need to know.

Stop & Shop at Union. Since May 4, 2022, grocery stores, food service outlets and other retail stores in New Jersey have been banned from providing or selling single-use plastic carry-on bags to customers. Tuesday, March 29, 2022.Menu Soap | NJ Advance Media

Does store size affect these exceptions?

No. Exceptions apply to all stores.

Small grocery stores – those under 2,500 square feet – can regularly offer paper bags and small plastic bags for vegetables and fruits.

According to trade publications, most grocery stores are between 12,000 and 40,000 square feet.

Should I still use alternatives?

Yes. The way reusable bags go, experts told NJ Advance Media.

In addition to being good for the environment, they are also very practical, said Sandra Suarez, a professor of biology at Rambo College and director of the school’s upward math science program.

“I think you have to get used to a lot of this … you may not put your apples (along with other items) in your cart. But it can be weird, you’re basically using the bags to take home what you’ve bought, ”said Suarez, many of which are already in their own packaging.

“I put my fruits and vegetables in a bag in my fridge, but there’s really no reason to think I should do that. It keeps my fridge clean, but I think it’s just a habit, doesn’t it? I’ll use reusable nylon and potatoes and onions. I switched to other mesh bags, but I have to remember to bring reusable bags when I go shopping … I think all of these have really become a habit, ”he added.

Stop & Shop spokeswoman Stephanie Schumann said, like other major supermarket brands in New Jersey, their stores also offer reusable bags for customers to purchase.

“Stop & Shop offers a range of high quality, durable, reusable grocery bags,” Schumann said. “Our most popular are our 2 reusable ones for $ 1 that come in a variety of prints. We also have a reusable social bag; One dollar from the purchase of each community bag is donated to a local charity.

Does any state ban small plastic bags for vegetables and fruits?

No.

All 10 states including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington have passed certain forms of single-use plastic barrier that continue to provide small bags for production. Items.

However, many states are encouraging residents to find ways to reuse these bags.

Possible uses include storing other items at home, dog waste and purchasing future items, Suarez said.

“For convenience and I don’t think we need to wash things often, we have introduced eco-friendly (plastic) into our lives,” Suarez said.

“If we really want to see its destruction, it may need a little washing and rinsing. It will probably take care of 50% of our plastic use … It’s a lifestyle change, and if people want to see environmental change, they really have to accept lifestyle change.” He said.

What are some alternative reusable product bags?

Naturally biodegradable “biobacks,” lightweight toad bags, mesh grocery bags or linen bread bags are alternatives to making bags.

You can choose to go without a bag, use laundry bags, store your trunk with a reusable cardboard box or reuse plastic bags you have at home. For those who want to be creative, try one of the “No Tailor Bag” tutorials available online to dot from household items.

Here are some reusable bags you can buy online:

Still have questions about the New Jersey plastic bag ban? Ask them here.

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Reach for Steven Rhodes srodas@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him @stevenrodasnj.

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