The Mile Square City is the latest spot in New Jersey to pass a prohibition on businesses using Styrofoam and the rest of the state could follow suit as the legislature has advanced a similar bill.
Back in August, Hoboken’s city council passed an ordinance banning the use of all single- service Styrofoam products at foodservice and retail establishments. The regulations were originally proposed by Mayor Ravi Bhalla and the Hoboken Green Team to help advance the city’s Climate Action Plan, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The technical name for Styrofoam is expanded polystyrene (or EPS) and because the material isn’t biodegradable, it can last in landfills for 500 years or more. Hoboken’s ban dictates that all products made with EPS, including cups, containers, lids, closures, trays, plates, and utensils no longer are permitted at Hoboken businesses as of March 8, 2020.
The ordinance also strengthens Hoboken’s existing ban on plastic bags, as “reusable” plastic bags will no longer be allowed in the city’s retail establishments. Following the initial plastic bag ban last year, some stores including ShopRite at 900 Madison Street started using thicker reusable bags as a way to get around the rules.
Retail and food establishments must still make paper bags available to customers for a fee of 10-25 cents per bag. Plastic produce bags, packaging, bags for frozen foods, meat, fish, flowers, plants, or baked goods, pharmacy prescription bags, newspaper bags, laundry or dry-cleaning bags, and packages of multiple bags are still allowed under the ban.
Styrofoam bans have become increasingly popular in recent years, with New York City becoming the largest place in the country to ban the material earlier this year. Paramus, one of the biggest retail hubs in New Jersey, started enforcing its Styrofoam and plastic bag bans earlier this month when the calendar turned to 2020.
According to NJ Advance Media, 17 different cities and one county in the Garden State have passed some kind of plastic bag or Styrofoam ban and the legislature is currently weighing a bill that would ban the materials at retailers throughout the state.