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11 • 04 • 2020

New Jersey Statewide Plastics Trifecta Signed Into Law

By Jennie Romer

Today New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed S864 into law, which covers the “trifecta” of single-use plastic pollution products: bags, foam and straws. This victory comes at a time when so much of the country’s focus is on the national election and the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Surfrider Foundation and other environmental advocates in New Jersey have continued to diligently push for effective policies that  reduce the flow of plastics to our ocean, waves and beaches. The plastics industry has fought to stomp out plastic pollution reduction legislation, and even called for rollbacks of existing laws. The adoption of New Jersey’s comprehensive plastics law signals that there is a strong appetite to fight plastic pollution — and bodes well for the next legislative session.  

New Jersey’s law includes:

“Plastic bags are one of the most problematic forms of garbage, leading to millions of discarded bags that stream annually into our landfills, rivers, and oceans,” said Governor Murphy. “With today’s historic bill signing, we are addressing the problem of plastic pollution head-on with solutions that will help mitigate climate change and strengthen our environment for future generations.” 

New Jersey's law, which has a similar structure to Vermont’s statewide trifecta law adopted last year, is the culmination of Surfrider’s campaign for a statewide bag legislation in New Jersey that started all the way back in 2014. This bill is a significant step toward reducing the harm and pollution that these products cause to our environment; and shows that an effective plastic pollution policy can sometimes take years of work to achieve.

Since 2005, the Surfrider Foundation has achieved hundreds of victories to stop the flow of plastics into our environment, but these victories do not come easy. So how exactly do these plastic reduction policies, laws and bills get passed and implemented? Check out our new video about our plastic pollution policy work below (and full length video is available here).

Are you looking to get plastics policy started in your community? We suggest starting with our Plastic Bag Law Activist Toolkit (and Addendum), and our new Comprehensive Foodware Policy Toolkit. We also suggest reaching out to the Rise Above Plastics committee of the local Surfrider chapter in your area.