Should plastic utensils be banned? 1 state lawmaker wants to see them limited

Democratic state Assembly Member Dr. Herb Conaway, the sponsor of the bill, says that New Jersey needs to get harmful plastics out of landfills and out of the environment.

Matt Trapani

Apr 5, 2023, 8:46 PM

Updated 471 days ago

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A bill introduced in Trenton last month could mean the end of plastic forks and spoons being included in takeout orders.
Democratic state Assembly Member Dr. Herb Conaway, the sponsor of the bill, says that New Jersey needs to get harmful plastics out of landfills and out of the environment.
New Jersey already has one of the strictest plastic bag bans in the country. This new bill would prohibit businesses from automatically giving out plastic utensils.
The owners of Fred and Murray’s Kosher Deli in Freehold say that they already changed their business due to the bag ban. The deli was busy on Wednesday as people came to pick up catered Seder dinners for the first night of Passover.
The owners say that banning the use of plastic utensils would not be practical for customers.
“We have a lot of people who work in offices, and people work in car shops, etc. that come here for their lunch stop and they’re eating on the go,” says co-owner Kurt Loegel. “They’re not always eating in the restaurant. They’re eating on the go, in their car, they’re lunchroom in their office or something. And they need utensils. Obviously. What else is the alternative?”
Conaway says that customers can still get plastic utensils from these businesses, they would just have to ask for them first. 
"If we just think a little bit about what happens to these items after they’re used, and use only the things we need, we’ll all be better off," Conaway says.
Businesses with seating for 50 or more would have to provide cutlery for dine-in customers.
"There's only so much a mom-and-pop business can handle," Loegel says.
Conaway says that this will be helpful for everyone in the long run.
"These are sort of common sense things that will save money for a lot of businesses and they’ll know as they’re doing it, they’re doing a good thing for the environment as well," he says.
A business violating the ban would be fined $1,000 for a first offense, $2,500 for a second and $5,000 for a third.
The bill has not yet had a hearing in the state Legislature.


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