Contact: Ed Potosnak
O: (609) 331-9922
C: (732) 991-7574

Environmental Groups Celebrate Passage of Historic Plastics Bill

TRENTON, NJ - Today, Governor Murphy signed the most comprehensive piece of plastics legislation in the nation. A1978/S864, the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, is now law.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Governor Murphy has signed the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act into law.  As numerous studies have shown us, unless we dramatically reduce our single-use plastic consumption, we will have more plastic than fish in our oceans in less than 30 years. Plastic pollution is a crisis for wildlife, our rivers, and ocean. ANJEC is so proud of the work environmental commissioners accomplished adopting 130 municipal ordinances that led to the strongest plastic pollution reduction law in the country. This law also strikes at the heart of the fracking industry that uses its waste products to create disposable plastic and further pollute our environment. We cannot recycle our way out of our plastic problems. We need to break the addiction, and this law is a tremendous step forward,” said Jennifer Coffey, Executive Director of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC). ANJEC received a Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in 2019 for 50 years of local support and their work on single-use plastics ordinances and education in New Jersey.

“On behalf of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, we are thrilled that Governor Murphy signed the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act into law. Not only has New Jersey joined our neighboring states, Delaware and New York, in combating plastics, but it is now home to the strongest, most comprehensive law in the nation,” said Sandra Meola, Director of the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, NJ Audubon. “Products harmful to public health and wildlife, like single-use bags and foam food packaging, will soon become things of the past. We commend the Murphy Administration, Senate and Assembly champions, and our Coalition advocates for protecting wildlife habitat and the drinking water source for 1.4 million New Jerseyans.” Meola received a USEPA Environmental Champion award in 2016 for her work on NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Plastic Reduction Campaign.

“Today is an historic day for New Jersey’s waterways, 130-mile coast line, and open spaces. This nation-leading single-use plastics and paper reduction policy will do exactly what we need it to—reduce the 4.4 billion single-use plastic and 1,300 football fields of trees worth of paper bags that New Jerseyans use every year,” said Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey LCV. “As the political voice for the environment in New Jersey, we have even more to celebrate - this is the third of our five bold Common Agenda for the Environment legislative priorities signed into law this session. We are thankful to Governor Murphy, bill sponsors Senator Bob Smith and Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, and our partners at ANJEC, the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed, and New Jersey Audubon who have helped us lead the charge for this nation-leading legislation.”

“We applaud Governor Murphy’s leadership for signing what is now the most comprehensive legislation in the country to prevent single-use plastics from polluting New Jersey’s communities, beaches, parks, and waterways,” said Eric Stiles, President and CEO of New Jersey Audubon. “There will soon be far less plastic in our environment to harm vulnerable bird, turtle, and other wildlife species, thanks to the tireless work of our partners and legislative leaders for getting this crucial bill across the finish line.”

Today begins an 18-month countdown to implement the ban on single-use plastic bags, single-use paper bags, and polystyrene foam food service products. All stores and food service businesses will be forbidden from providing single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers for food and beverage use. Paper bags, which take more than three times as much energy and four times as much water to manufacture as a plastic bag, will only be permitted in small businesses under 2,500 square feet. After 12 months, food service business will only be allowed to provide single-use plastic straws upon request.   

NJ Clean Communities funds will be earmarked for the first three years to help municipalities with educational efforts and to purchase reusable bags. The Plastics Advisory Council will also be created to monitor the implementation of this bill and evaluate its effectiveness for reducing single-use plastics in NJ.