Plastic (and Styrofoam) ban is 1 year out: Pitch to get businesses on board is starting now

A law that bans the use of single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products, as well as single-use paper carryout bags, in most stores in the state goes into effect next May.

This month, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the New Jersey Business Action Center launched a website that aims to explain the law and its impact on consumers and business owners.

You can learn more about the law here.

The site is the start of what will be an aggressive campaign to get the word out on the bag ban bill.

Linda Doherty, president of the New Jersey Clean Communities Council, one of the lead proponents of the legislation, applauded the effort. Her group is eager to get the business community behind the effort.

“The state outreach dovetails with NJCCC’s mission to combat litter,” Doherty said. “We are fortunate to have this growing partnership with the state, as we roll out a three-year communication and marketing campaign to educate every shopper in this state about the new law.”

Doherty, who also serves as CEO of the New Jersey Food Council, has worked closely with the state in promoting the law. She said the website provides the absolute latest information about compliance.

“This is of ideal importance for owners of supermarkets and other businesses that rely so heavily on the need for bags,” she said.

Another key component of the state’s educational effort will be a vendor clearinghouse that connects manufacturers and suppliers who provide reusable bags and other products that comply with the new state standards.

The state is also planning to conduct roundtables to prepare businesses and their customers.

JoAnn Gemenden, executive director of the NJCCC, said the nonprofit group is creating a three-year, consumer-based campaign, known as “Bag Up NJ,” geared to educate and prepare New Jersey residents ahead of the law going into effect.

“The Bag Up NJ campaign is the perfect complement to the state’s business outreach plan, as our focus is consumers,” she said. “We are reaching out to the individual shopper with a very simple ask: When you go to the store, bring your own reusable bags. It’s that simple.”