On September 24, 2020, the legislature of the US state of New Jersey passed a bill that will ban both plastic and paper single-use carryout bags as well as single-use food containers and cups made of polystyrene foam and limit plastic straws. Jeff Tittel from the New Jersey Sierra Club told The New York Times that “this bill is probably the strongest, most comprehensive bill in the nation dealing with plastics and packaging.”

Compared to other US states that have previously passed similar legislation, this bill is unique in that it specifically targets both plastic and paper shopping bags. “The ban on paper bags is critically important to the success of this legislation,” Linda Doherty from the New Jersey Food Council told EcoWatch. “Without a ban, consumers will simply move to paper single-use bags and we will not address the underlying goal of reducing our reliance on single-use products.” The bill will now be sent to the state’s governor, who has already confirmed they will sign it into law. It will then come into force 18 months later.

On September 28, 2020, EcoWatch reported that the US state of Maryland will begin enforcing its own law banning the use of polystyrene food containers in restaurants and other establishments that serve food (such as schools). The law was passed in 2019, and its implementation was delayed by a few months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cole Rosengren (September 25, 2020). “New Jersey passes sweeping bill limiting carryout bags, polystyrene foam and straws.” Waste Dive

Mihir Zaveri (September 25, 2020). “Even Paper Bags Will Be Banned From N.J. Supermarkets.” The New York Times

Olivia Rosane (September 25, 2020). “New Jersey Legislature Passes ‘Most Comprehensive’ Plastics Ban in the Nation.” EcoWatch

Olivia Rosane (September 28, 2020). “Maryland Will Be First State to Ban Foam Food Containers.” EcoWatch

Cole Rosengren (November 4, 2020). “New Jersey governor signs sweeping bill limiting carryout bags, polystyrene foam and straws.” EcoWatch

Keller and Heckmann LLP (December 4, 2020). “New Jersey Bans Single-Use Plastic and Paper Carryout Bags.”


New Jersey Legislature (September 24, 2020). “S864 (4R) Prohibits provision or sale of single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use paper carryout bags, and polystyrene foam food service products; limits provision of single-use plastic straws; appropriates moneys from Clean Communities Program Fund for public education.” (pdf)