The first state to restrict plastic utensils for takeout orders may be New Jersey.
Democratic state Assembly Member Dr. Herb Conaway has introduced a bill that would prevent businesses from automatically handing out single-use plastic utensils to customers.
It’s the belief of Conaway that New Jersey needs to get harmful plastics out of landfills & the environment.
There is already a ban on plastic bags in the state, & this bill could further reduce plastic waste.
All food establishments would be urged by this bill to find eco-friendly alternatives for utensils.
A broad definition of “food service businesses” is given in the bill that includes restaurants, food trucks, cafeterias, grocery stores, & convenience stores.
Cutlery for dining in customers would need to be provided by food service businesses with restaurant seating for 50 or more people.
Plastic utensils from businesses could still be bought by customers, but they would have to ask for them first.
Fines ranging from $ 1,000 for a first offense to $ 5,000 for a third offense will be levied for violations of the bill.
The state Legislature has not yet taken the bill up for debate.
Schools, sports arenas, entertainment venues, & hospitals are also covered by the bill.
There is encouragement for businesses to provide reusable, washable utensils to customers eating on site.
Food service businesses would be prohibited by the bill from providing single-use plastic utensils & condiments to customers, except on request.
Some business owners have expressed concerns about the practicality of the ban for their customers.
The aim of the bill is to encourage businesses to find eco-friendly alternatives & save money in the long run.