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Banned soon in New Jersey? Plastic utensils for takeout customers could be on the way out


Grabbing takeout food any time soon?


You may be out of luck on the plastic fork, spoon and knife front if one state bill in New Jersey becomes law.


Plastic utensils for takeout orders could become a thing of the past — or at least severely restricted.


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Democratic state assembly member Dr. Herb Conaway, the bill's sponsor, said the Garden State should get harmful plastics out of landfills and out of the environment, according to News 12 in New Jersey.


While the state already has a strict plastic bag ban, the bill would prevent businesses from handing out single-use plastic utensils automatically to customers.


The bill "prohibits food service businesses from providing single-use plastic utensils and condiments to customers, except upon request, and requires certain food service businesses to provide reusable, washable utensils to customers eating on site," a synopsis of the bill says on the New Jersey State legislature's website.


The bill was introduced last month, on March 23, 2023.


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The bill would urge all food establishments to find eco-friendly alternatives, according to New Jersey Spotlight News.


Violations would include a $1,000 fine for the first offense — and up to $5,000 for the third offense, the same outlet noted.


Businesses with in-restaurant seating for 50 or more people would need to provide cutlery for dine-in customers, the bill says.


There is a very broad definition of "food service business" in the bill — including restaurants, food trucks, cafeterias, grocery stores and convenience stores, and other places where people get food for take-out or dine-in, according to NJ Patch.


The bill would apply to food served at schools, sports arenas, entertainment venues and even hospitals as well.


The bill was referred to the Assembly’s Environment and Solid Waste Committee.


Check Plastic-free Disposables on: www.quitplastic.in

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