If you live in New Jersey and order a drink at a fast food or coffee drive-through, or at Wawa, you’re going to get that drink with a paper straw. The drink could possibly be served in a large plastic cup with a plastic lid. There’s a chance that your paper straw will be individually wrapped in plastic for health safety, but know that you’re saving the environment one drink at a time.
While New Jersey has now banned the use of plastic straws, allowing an option for customers to request a plastic straw, the state still allows drinks to be served in plastic cups, styrofoam cups, and capped with plastic lids. Even paper cups used for hot beverages like coffee and tea are often topped with plastic lids.
Beginning on November 4, 2021, food service businesses shall only provide a single-use plastic straw to a customer upon request by the customer. Foodservice businesses are required to keep an adequate supply of single-use plastic straws. Stores may continue to sell packages of single-use plastic straws and provide/sell a beverage pre-packaged by the manufacturer with a single-use plastic straw, i.e., juice boxes.
A person or entity that violates the law will be warned for a first offense, may be fined up to $1,000 per day for the second offense and may be fined up to $5,000 per day for the third and subsequent violations. Violations of a continuing nature constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense for each day that is deemed a violation.
More is on the way for New Jersey. Next May, the state will outlaw plastic bags, even though most of the products sold are wrapped and packaged with plastic.
Beginning May 4, 2022, the law prohibits all Stores (including retail), Food Service Businesses, and Grocery Stores from selling to, or providing their customers with, single-use plastic carryout bags. In addition, Grocery Stores larger than 2,500 square feet may not provide or sell single-use paper carryout bags, and instead may provide or sell only reusable carryout bags.
A polystyrene and styrofoam band will take effect the same day.