NJ Plastic Bag Prohibition: These bags were great for small trash cans. What now?

When a group of seniors at Paterson High School gathered at Ramapo College to study the use of bags – both disposable and recyclable – in northern New Jersey in 2018, they probably had no idea the state was only four years away from addressing the issue. on the head.

New Jersey’s strict ban on disposable plastic bags in most stores across the state takes effect next month. And some of the key factors that led to the ban were similar to what students found in their study.

But here’s something most of us can probably relate to:

“Our students (also) surveyed people and asked what they reused plastic bags and a very common answer was for garbage. “People said they used them to put trash cans in small trash cans or for their kitchen waste (containers),” Sandra Suarez, a professor of biology at Ramapo College and director of the University’s Upward Bound Math Science program, told NJ Advance Media.

Once the bag ban begins, residents will no longer have the steady and free supply of bags they are used to attaching around barrels in bedrooms, offices and bathrooms.

So, what should you know about the New Jersey Disposable Plastic Bag Prohibition? And what advice should you keep in mind as bags that are usually recycled for small trash cans go out into the street?

What you need to know about the bag ban

New Jersey will ban the distribution of disposable plastic bags and certain types of food containers to take with it from May 4, 2022.

When it comes into force, it will probably be the nation’s strictest plastic bag ban – as it also bans supermarkets over 2,500 square meters from donating or selling paper bags to customers on the list.

Can I still buy plastic garbage bags?

The New Jersey Department of the Environment reminds residents that regular garbage bags will not be pulled off the shelves when the bag ban begins. Pet waste bags and Ziploc-style bags will also continue to be available.

Only “disposable luggage bags” are included in some of the laws. It is still allowed to buy garbage bags in stores, “says the agency online.

So these plastic bags that were normally delivered off the counter in supermarkets or delivered in supermarkets will not be available for you to store at home and reuse. And since all of New Jersey bans them, it will not be as easy as going to another town to get free bags to store away.

CONNECTED: NJ’s plastic bag ban starts in a month. Stores will start reminding you of that soon.

What can I use instead of plastic garbage bags?

When your supply runs out, you need to find some benefits.

“Consider using paper, biodegradable, composted, plant-based bags, or just fewer bags using a garbage can,” Suarez said. “Separating rubbish is very useful for keeping rubbish bins clean.

Suarez recommends putting recyclable material in one bin (“do not need a bag if you rinse cans and bottles”), paper in another and biodegradable waste in a bin.

Do you want to take it a step further? Put the pile of mulch in your yard with leaves and grass clippings and create your own rich soil for your yard, said Suarez.

“All of these options involve almost no overtime, just a change of habits. There are a lot of tips online, from feeding barrels to a newspaper to using your reusable bags and washing them when they get dirty, “she added.

The New Jersey Business Action Center offers a list of retailers that sell sustainable bags. To view the list, click here and enter your name and email address.

While some will only focus on buying small disposable plastic bags or regular trash bags online, Suarez said she hopes the bag ban will encourage a better approach to minimizing and disposing of waste in the future.

“With more bag bans, I think we’ll see more vegetarian options and other waste compost,” she said.

The following bags are good options:

As of May 4, 2022, New Jersey supermarkets, grocery stores and other retailers are prohibited from supplying or selling disposable plastic bags to customers. What should customers, who are used to recycling bags for small bins at home, do to prepare?

What else can I do to prepare for the loss of these disposable plastic bags?

Recycling disposable plastic bags that you get in the bin for trash is a good habit and more environmentally friendly compared to not recycling these bags at all, says Kerrie Sendall, lecturer in biology at Rider University. That way, it’s a good idea to reuse all the stock of bags you have left in the bin.

“Every way we recycle (this plastic bag) reduces the amount of plastic we produce,” she said.

But you do not have to wait until May 4th to start your own personal bag ban.

“When I’m shopping now, if they’re packing my groceries, I just take the plastic bag and try to use it for something else,” said Sendall, noting that DIY projects, dog waste and future grocery shopping are among the options. “Sometimes when you say you do not want it, (salespeople) just end up putting it in their own trash, so I take them” at that point.

Should I stock up on disposable plastic bags for the trash can in April?


You may be tempted to grab a few more (or a few dozen more) plastic bags in April that stores are running before the ban, but experts and officials hope residents will take the ban instead and reduce the amount of plastic they use.

For those who want to dispose of plastic bags they have collected at home over the years, the Wrap Recycling Action Program, a national awareness campaign, offers an online search tool to find the recycling bin near you.

For more information on the ban visit nj.com/plasticbagban. Do you still have questions about the New Jersey plastic bag ban? Ask them here.

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Steven Rodas can be reached at srodas@njadvancemedia.com.

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