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Don’t Forget to B.Y.O. Bag Starting Wednesday, May 4

On Wednesday, May 4, a new state law called the “Bag Ban” goes into effect. When it does, supermarkets will not hand out any free, single-use paper or plastic shopping bags. Customers will have to bring their own shopping bags, or purchase them at the supermarket.

Other retail stores and restaurants can continue to provide free paper shopping bags, but they will not be allowed to provide free plastic bags.

“The new statewide Bag Ban is going to be a big change for many shoppers. We hope to help make the transition easier by sharing some tips on how to adjust to reusable bags,” said Commissioner Chair Rebecca L. Williams.

To help remind shoppers, Union County has produced the new “Grab a Bag,” video, now playing on Union County’s YouTube channel at youtube.com.

Individuals, schools, organizations and businesses are invited to share the video link free of charge.

Among the recommended tips are: hanging a supply of reusable bags by the door, placing some bags in the car, and keeping a lightweight bag in a pocket, purse or backpack in case of unexpected errands.

The Bag Ban comes under the heading of New Jersey Public Law. 2020, c 117, a comprehensive state law intended to reduce waste, litter and pollution. The provision dealing with single-use plastic bags applies to all retail stores in New Jersey. The provision dealing with single-use paper bags applies to grocery stores larger than 2,500 square feet.

The law was enacted in 2020, providing retailers and the public with two years to prepare for the change to reusable bags.

Details about the law are available from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection at nj.gov/dep/plastic-ban-law.

Business owners and managers can find additional information at business.nj.gov/bags/plastic-ban-law.

For information about free County-sponsored recycling events and other recycling programs in Union County, visit the Union County Bureau of Recycling and Planning online at ucnj.org/recycle or call the Union County Recycling Hotline at 908-654-9889.

For quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities visit The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email info@ucnj.org or use the online Contact Form.

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