A lot is happening in New Jersey. This past  Wednesday Governor Phil Murphy signed a law into place that bans businesses and stores from handing out single use plastic bags, straws, polystyrene containers, and paper bags in the state of New Jersey. This new ban applies to businesses such as convenience stores, movie theatres, food trucks, and of course the major grocery stores.

According to NJ.com, the ban will become effective in May of 2022. And beginning in November of next year businesses will be prohibited from handing out plastic straws unless requested by the customer. However, there are a few exceptions to this law for some disposable items such as bags that wrap raw meat, bags for loose items like produce, dry cleaning bags, bags that are used to hold fish and insects from a pet food store, prescription drug bags, and newspaper bags.

Businesses that break the rules will be facing some hefty fines, after their first warning. The fine for a second violation is $1,000 dollars while it goes up to $5,000 dollars after the third and every one after that. According to NJ.com, the money from the fines go towards the Clean Communities Program Fund. This program pays for litter clean up grants statewide.

To help transition to a life without plastic materials the law is launching a three-year plan and allocating $500,000 a year to fund a public education campaign, and to handout free reusable bags.

This ban is a big step in the right direction in terms of combating plastic pollution in New Jersey. Saving the plant one bag at a time.