NJ’s Law to Reduce Plastic Pollution Comes into Force, Limits Single-Use Plastic Straws – The College VOICE

Drinking straws contribute to the entry of harmful microplastics into oceans and waterways and the build-up of harmful chemicals that they leach out. | Photo file.

New Jersey’s “on-demand-only” plastic straw law, designed to reduce pollution, came into effect on November 4, 2021. Restaurants and businesses are now required to provide single-use plastic straws only to customers who request it. The policy has broad support from lawmakers and the public, although restaurateurs and workers have reservations about its implementation.

While many New Jersey environmental groups tend to take a positive view of the state’s environmental actions, environmental groups are also taking additional steps to encourage businesses to switch to more environmentally friendly paper straws. .

Carly Weldon, a bartender who serves over 200 customers a day at famous MJ’s Bar & Grille, says: “Customers I talk to who have an opinion on the new law would much rather ask for a plastic straw than to drink. with paper straws. which tend to degrade inside your drink.

Dana Lawson, solid waste planning supervisor at the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said that “the act is aimed at reducing the production of plastic, reducing the number of microplastics entering the environment, reduce waste entering oceans and other waterways and decrease accumulation. of harmful chemicals leached from plastics in waterways.

The “on request only” plastic straw law is part of PL 2020, c. 117, a law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy last year to tackle the amount of pollution from single-use plastics dumped in the New Jersey ecosystem.

Other parts of the law that will come into force soon include banning single-use plastic bags in most stores and disposing of styrofoam containers or food items. Businesses will need to encourage customers to bring their own reusable bags or sell those that meet new state regulations.

Joanna Mullowney, president of the Ewing Green Team, said “The new law is an absolutely necessary step forward in the war on waste and the unnecessary proliferation of single-use and disposable culture… Our society needs that people realize the impact of their decisions on the environment and that we cannot continue to foul our own nest “

Keith Palmer, Manager of MJ’s Bar & Grille, who has worked in the culinary / hospitality industry since 2001, says: “Time and cost of alternative take out is my biggest concern… I guess our restaurant would pass. aluminum containers that are recyclable when the law comes into force.

Bryce K. Locke