Scroll Top

Senator McKeon Calls for New Jersey’s Largest Food Service Establishments to Skip the Straw

TRENTON – Ahead of Earth Day, and to continue New Jersey’s progress in reducing plastic waste and fostering a cleaner environment for its residents, Senator John McKeon has sent letters to the 50 largest food-service establishments statewide, demanding these businesses comply with all parts of the single-use plastics ban, particularly the provision on single-use plastic straws.

“The single-use plastics ban was an ambitious endeavor and has drastically cut down plastic pollution,” said Senator McKeon (D-Essex/Passaic). “However, some food service establishments are not fully adhering to the law, as single-use plastic straws remain readily available to customers at self-service stations. Our largest chain restaurants, convenience stores, and fast-food businesses have a moral and legal obligation to follow the law and skip the straw.”

According to the New Jersey Plastics Advisory Council, roughly 5.5 billion single-use plastic bags and 110 million single-use paper bags were kept out of landfills from the law’s enactment in May 2022 to the end of that year alone. Clean Ocean Action, a leading environmental advocacy group that works to protect local waterways, found during its 2022 beach clean-ups that the number of plastic shopping bags, straws, and foam takeout containers had dropped by more than 35% compared to the previous year.

“The data is clear,” added Senator McKeon. “We have made great strides in cutting out single-use plastic and paper bags, but have not seen the same effort by businesses to reduce the use of plastic straws. These straws pollute our waterways, are a hazard to wildlife, and persist in the environment long after a morning coffee run.”

Americans are estimated to use tens of millions of single-use plastic straws daily. Single-use plastic straws are not recyclable, do not biodegrade, and are consistently one of the most littered items in the environment.

“Fast food and chain convenience stores talk a big game when it comes to being environmentally conscious,” added Senator McKeon. “Yet the majority violate New Jersey law with impunity daily. It is time for these businesses to walk the walk and fully commit to reducing plastic pollution by only providing plastic straws upon request. In doing so, we can reach our full potential in creating a cleaner, more sustainable New Jersey.”

As straws are necessary for some individuals with disabilities, the law still allows for straws to be provided to customers “upon request”.

You can read Senator McKeon’s letter here.