When New Jersey's plastic bag ban begins Wednesday, it'll also mark the end of a very common convenience, especially for those who frequent restaurants.

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As we prepare to say goodbye to plastic bags -- and even many paper bags -- in a matter of hours, products made of polystyrene foam will be going the way of dinosaurs, too. At least for the most part.

The era of going out to a restaurant and the server handing you a foam container to put your leftovers in is a part of the "bag ban" that starts later this week.

Officially from the state,

Beginning May 4, 2022, the law prohibits all persons and food service businesses from selling/offering for sale any polystyrene foam food service product and prohibits all food service businesses from selling/providing any food served in a polystyrene foam food service product.

And that would include being able to buy foam plates or cups for barbeques and parties at a supermarket, too.

Styrofoam cup - Photo by Julio Lopez on Unsplash
Styrofoam cup - Photo by Julio Lopez on Unsplash

There are some exceptions

Through May 2024, you can still get foam soda spoons for thick drinks, tiny foam cups (two ounces or less), and those foam trays meat and fish come on at the supermarket are OK.

Oh, and you'll still be able to buy eggs that come in a foam container.

History in the making

In November 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy enacted what is widely considered to be the most progressive bag ban law in the country.

Big fines are possible

Violators of the bag (and foam) ban will first get a warning and then fines could reach $5,000 per day for the most serious infractions.

Additional information

For full details on the state's bag and foam container ban, visit the NJDEP's website.

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