Many NJ stores still distribute paper bags, but that’s okay!

May 5, 2022

Montana Loans

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Now that New Jersey’s toughest bag ban has been launched at supermarkets and big box stores are not allowed to give shoppers any type of plastic or paper bag, but that’s not the case for many other retail establishments.

The new law says all types of regular plastic bags are banned, but Eileen Kean, director of the New Jersey chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said some small stores weren’t sure what was allowed.

A paper bag is fine

The law allows paper bags in any retail establishment under 2,500 square feet. This excludes supermarkets and big box stores, but not small retailers.

“Many small boutiques have their own stylish paper bags with handles that become popular when you become a customer and you like the little bag because you use it once you get home,” Kean said.

Kean said it could get a bit confusing.

“There is a learning curve involved and business owners, NFIB members are trying to embrace the new world they live in,” she said.

Catalin205/Billion Photos/Townsquare Media photo illustration

Catalin205/Billion Photos/Townsquare Media photo illustration

Cities can’t make their own bag laws

She stressed that it’s important to understand that municipalities must follow state bag law and cannot impose their own regulations.

“It’s really good news for Main Street because what had happened was municipalities were coming up with their own restrictions and it was definitely confusing,” she said.

Kean noted that while plastic bags are banned, there is an exemption for dry cleaners.

“Dry cleaners can still use plastic bags that they use to protect clean clothes when delivered to a customer.”

Violators are fined $1,000.

“I think the business community is okay with it, not necessarily happy with the extremes of this ban, but they have no choice but to comply with the new law,” Kean said.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

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