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State lawmakers in 2019 will be deciding whether to ban plastic bags from stores and plastic straws in restaurants.

In the meantime, more than a dozen local governments in New Jersey have already made the move to turn the common items into contraband. Many of the rules will take effect January or later in the year.


In August, Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a measure that would have imposed a 5-cent fee on carry-out bags, a proposal that was opposed by environmental groups because fees have not done enough to discourage people from using plastic bags in other parts of the country. Environmentalists say the plastic bags and straws are hazards for animals and marine life.

Business groups also opposed the measure, as well as the Legislature's newest proposal, but for different reasons.

Douglas Kellogg, state projects director at Americans for Tax Reform, called the campaign against drinking straws a "moral panic." Others say it will impose financial hardships on small businesses and consumers.

Many of the local ordinances have exemptions from the ban, which is aimed at the bags people would use at the check-out counter, not the bags used in the produce aisle or the plastic containers used to package meats. Garbage bags also are exempt.

The Jersey Shore towns that have adopted these measures also exempt bait shops from the ban.

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