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SIERRA CLUB: Food Pantry Plastic Extension Bill Passed by Assembly and Senate


TRENTON, NJ – Thursday, the Senate and Assembly passed S2363 (Smith) / A2065 (Coughlin). The bill gives food pantries a 6 month extension from the law prohibiting sale and distribution of plastic and paper carryout bags by certain businesses. The bill will also provide 500,000 free reusable carryout bags proportionally distributed to the State’s food banks. It passed the Senate with a vote of 36-0 and it passed the Assembly with a vote of 58-15-1. It now goes to Governor Murphy’s desk to sign. 


In response, Anjuli Ramos-Busot, New Jersey Chapter Director, Sierra Club, issued the following statement:


“Plastic pollution is a huge problem in New Jersey, which is why our legislature has taken several steps to tackle this public health and environmental issue. In just a few weeks, the comprehensive ban on single use plastics will take effect throughout the state. This ban is a major step in stopping plastic pollution in the state. It will help protect our critical waterways, wildlife, and more. 


“While our statewide bag ban is a monumental step, it’s important that major food banks and food pantries have the resources and capacity to make the transition to renewable bags. We support the amended bill which gives these food pantries a 6-month extension in order to be fully prepared for the plastic ban and provides them 500,000 free reusable bags. New Jersey has one of the strongest plastic bans in the nation that will help battle against plastics. We understand that this transition to renewable bags will be difficult for everyone at first, but collectively we can and will adjust. Our environment has been suffocated by plastic bags, microplastics and polystyrene for too long.”




About the Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information about our work in New Jersey, visit