In late September, the New Jersey legislature passed the nation’s most wide-ranging ban on plastic products and paper bags. The ban on plastic and paper bags will take effect 18 months after the governor’s signature which was expected to move through without a hitch.
From a bait and tackle perspective, the pending new law would exempt bags used solely to contain or wrap uncooked meat, fish, or poultry. Also exempt are retail bags used solely to contain live animals, such as fish or insects sold in a pet store, or for packaging loose items such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, coffee, grains, baked goods, candy, greeting cards, flowers, or small hardware items.
The legislation specifically cites as reason for the ban how plastics break down through photodegradation and release harmful chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) into the environment that have been linked to health problems in humans. “These chemicals enter the food chain when consumed by marine life,” the legislation states, adding that single-use plastic waste “creates visual pollution, degrades water quality, and impacts the tourism, fishing, and shipping industries, all of which are major contributors to the New Jersey economy.”
Based on the 18-month cycle, New Jersey consumers can expect to begin bringing their own bags to retail outlets beginning in 2022. Unless of course you’re only buying bait, in which case you should be good.