March 9, 2020

Updated plastic bag, styrofoam ban now in effect for Hoboken

An ordinance banning the use of all single service styrofoam products, as well all carry-out plastic bags from food service and retail establishments is now in effect for the City of Hoboken. The original ordinance, which was adopted in 2018, only prohibited the use of single-use plastic bags. However the revised plastic bag ban, adopted in August of 2019, prohibits the use of all plastic bags, including thicker “reusable” plastic bags. The new regulations are a part of Hoboken’s Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and exceed the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“Hoboken’s updated ban on all carry-out plastic bags, as well as styrofoam, demonstrates that Hoboken is a leader in environmental sustainability,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “We heard residents loud and clear, that the original regulation could have gone even further, and I’m glad to say we’ve now made those changes. This updated ban is a model for the entire tri-state region, and I’m hopeful that the State of New Jersey will follow Hoboken’s lead as it considers a state-wide plastic bag regulation.”

The Hoboken Green Team, a volunteer organization, is working with the City to help educate residents and businesses about the new regulations and the harmful effects of plastic and styrofoam pollution.

Ban on all carry-out plastic bags

• The full carry-out plastic bag ban strengthens the original single-use carry out plastic bag ban that is currently in effect.
• All carry-out plastic bags, including “reusable” plastic bags, will be prohibited at all retail and food establishments as of March 8, 2020. Currently, all single-use plastic bags are prohibited at all retail and food establishments.
• Retail and food establishments must still make paper bags available to customers for a fee of 10-25 cents per bag. All proceeds from the fee will continue to be collected by the retail or food establishment to offset the costs of the paper bags.
• The following plastic bags are still allowed for free: produce bags, product bags (packaging), bags for frozen foods, meat, fish, flowers, plants, or baked goods, pharmacy prescription bags, newspaper bags, laundry or dry-cleaning bags, and packages of multiple bags, which includes pet waste bags.
Residents are encouraged to utilize reusable bags at all retail and food establishments.

Styrofoam ban

• Single-use products made with expanded polystyrene (EPS), commonly known as styrofoam, will no longer be permitted for sale at retail or food establishments in Hoboken as of March 8, 2020.
• Single-use products that consist of EPS including cups, containers, lids, closures, trays, plates, utensils, napkins and more will no longer be permitted for sale at retail or food establishments.
• Straws are not included in the new regulations.

In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added styrene, a chemical found in styrofoam products, to its list of known or possible carcinogens. EPS isn’t biodegradable and can last in landfills for 500 years or more.

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