A state senate bill could ban single-use plastic bags, paper bags and styrofoam containers in New Jersey. 17 towns in the Garden state already have fees or bans on plastic bags.

The bill would prohibit single-use plastic bags within one year. Paper bags and polystyrene cups would be banned in two years. Governor Phil Murphy vetoed a previous bill that only went so far as to tax plastic bags at 5 cents. In his veto statement, Governor Murphy said, Instituting a five-cent fee on single-use bags that only applies to certain retailers does not go far enough to address the problems created by overreliance on plastic bags and other single-use carryout bags.”

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The bill does not include plastic straws, at the behest of disability advocates. A sponsor of the bill said that plastic straws will be provided upon request, and the state is working toward paper straws. The bill passed the senate environment committee in September 2018. The bill is expected to be voted on December 5.

State senator Bob Smith, another sponsor of the  bill, said of the need to reduce plastics, “We have this major problem with health on planet Earth, and we’re not dealing with it. Plastics are killing us. It’s not a cure-all, there’s a lot more to be done. But it’s a giant step to fix it.”

Clean Ocean Action, a non-profit working to improve water quality, has found much of the litter on New Jersey’s beaches comes from plastic. The group found that more than 76% of the items collected in 2017 were plastic.

Plastic bag and styrofoam bans are increasing around the United States. Baltimore enacted a styrofoam ban recently. Places around the world like Tel Aviv, California, Oregon, Delaware and many more are banning various single-use plastics and others that are coming up with creative ways to recycle and use plastic waste

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There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using  mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads

To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below: 

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