Plastic Ban Backfires In HUGE Way

A study into New Jersey’s ban on single-use plastic bags found that the ban was unsuccessful at curbing plastic consumption in the state, the Washington Examiner reported.

New Jersey’s plastic bag ban was signed into law in November 2020 by Democrat Governor Phil Murphy and took effect in May 2022. Murphy claimed at the time that the law would mitigate litter from plastic and help curb climate change.

While other states also enacted bans on single-use plastic bags, New Jersey’s was the strictest of its kind, barring all grocery and retail stores from offering customers plastic shopping bags while also preventing larger grocery stores (more than 2,500 sq ft) from offering either plastic or paper single-use bags.

The law also banned the use of polystyrene take-out containers and plastic straws unless a customer requested them.

With plastic bags no longer an option, consumers switched to reusable bags, often made of woven and non-woven polypropylene plastic that were only used a few times before they were discarded.

The surge in reusable shopping bags also created new environmental problems. According to a 2018 report from Denmark on the life cycle of reusable grocery bags, consumers would need to use a cotton bag at least 7,100 times for it to have a positive effect on the environment.

According to a Freedonia Group study released on January 9, New Jersey’s ban on single-use plastic bags has produced the opposite effect than intended, with residents of the state using three times the amount of plastic now than they did before the ban took effect.

Before the ban, residents consumed 53 million pounds of plastic. But now, plastic consumption in the state has increased to 151 million pounds.

Twelve other states, including California, Colorado, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, have all passed laws restricting or banning single-use plastic bags – all with the intent of reducing plastic consumption and litter.