Last year we celebrated as New Jersey passed into law one of the strongest bans on single-use disposables in the country (P.L. 2020, c. 117). We've been counting down the days until the law goes into effect. On November 4, the "straws by request" provision went live. Under these requirements, food service businesses will only offer single-use plastic straws to customers if they specifically request one.
Statement by Maura Toomey, Zero Waste Organizer for Clean Water Action before the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee Opposing A5803
June 14, 2021
Thank you for the opportunity to testify on this bill. Clean Water Action strongly opposes A5803, which would exempt plastic material processed at advanced plastic processing facilities from solid waste and recycling regulations, and urges the bill’s sponsor Assemblyman McKeon to pull this bill.
New Jersey’s ban on single-use carryout bags and polystyrene foam containers will go into effect one year from now, or May 2022! This victory was the result of the groundswell of concern over the damage being caused to our environment by waste and single-use plastics. This is only the beginning of the paradigm shift toward zero waste happening in New Jersey, across the U.S., and around the world. In the next part of our ReThink Disposable Blog Series, we will take a look at state policies in the works that will move us ever closer toward a zero waste future.
Statement for Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee on A2783
March 15, 2021
Clean Water Action thanks the committee for the opportunity to comment on A2783 and Assemblyman Stanley and Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle for sponsoring this bill. Clean Water Action supports the bill directing the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop guidelines for state and local government purchases to be more environmentally sustainable.
Comments for the Senate Environment and Energy Committee on Post-consumer Recycled Content Bill S2515
March 4, 2021
Given that there was no opportunity to testify, below are Clean Water Action's comments about S2515. Clean Water Action supports the post-consumer recycled content bill with a few remaining concerns.
Clean Water Action first and foremost advocates for programs that prevent waste before it is created. We promote reusables over single-use disposables whenever possible. The bag, foam, and straws bill (S864) signed into law in November was a critical first step. Thank you Senator Smith for leading that effort.
NJ's statewide ban on single-use carryout bags and polystyrene foam containers was a huge victory made possible in part by the 50 plus local ordinances banning these and other single-use disposables. This just goes to show how powerful local policies can be in creating larger change. So what else can municipalities do?
Despite so many challenges, we accomplished so much in 2020. One of our biggest victories in New Jersey was helping pass legislation banning single-use carryout bags and polystyrene foam food containers, while also limiting unnecessary use of plastic straws by requiring restaurants to provide them only upon request! This is a huge step forward but we still have a long way to go to fight plastic pollution and climate change. So what else can we do?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, household waste from packaged online orders, disposable take-out containers, and other single-use disposables is at an all time high. We also know that as much waste is produced by households, industry produces about 70 times that amount upstream. We are in one of the worst eras of plastic pollution ever, but we are also in one of the best moments of plastic pollution activism! Join us in celebrating Plastic Free July - a month dedicated to raising awareness and taking action to fight plastic pollution.
2018 was the year of plastic with plastic pollution reaching public attention more than ever before. The global plastic crisis made the cover of National Geographic, headlines in multiple international news sources and documentaries, and even a special on 60 Minutes. We also saw more plastic pollution policies introduced and adopted worldwide, including over twenty local policies in New Jersey!