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Lawmakers voted on a bill today (Thursday, March 6) that would ban single-use bags, both paper and plastic. If it all goes as planned for the state Senate, New Jersey would be the first state to ban both products.

NJ.com reported that it would take effect 18 months after the date which Governor Murphy signs the bill. Without the Assembly passing its own version of the bill, the state can’t move forward.

The State Senate voted 22-14 on bill S864 which would also ban Styrofoam, or polystyrene foam, takeover containers and single-use plastic straws.

“It’s critical that our legislators push this bill through quickly, because the longer we delay the worse our plastic problem gets,” said Jeff Tittel, New Jersey Sierra Club Director. “This is the most comprehensive plastic bill in the nation because it bans paper bags as well as single-use plastic bags. This legislation is critical because it could make New Jersey a national leader in going after plastics and protecting our environment.”

The Legislature revealed that approximately 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean annually. If no action is put into place, scientists estimate that by 2050 the mass of plastic pollution in the sea would exceed the mass of fish.

How do you feel about the ban of both plastic and paper bags in the Garden State?