Plastic Bag Ban Backfires Bigtime in One State, According to New Study

A lot of colorful plastic bags

( – As of May 4, 2022, single-use plastic bags have not been available to consumers in New Jersey. The state banned the use of the bags, which are not often recycled. A new study indicates plastic bag production actually spiked after the state’s prohibition went into effect.

On January 9, Freedonia Custom Research (FCR) released a report detailing the impact of the plastic bag ban on the state. According to research, the firm found the volume of bags used in the state dropped by over 60% to 894 million bags. However, the shift toward reusable bags resulted in an almost “3x increase in plastic consumption for bags.” The report also stated that “6x more woven and non-woven polypropylene plastic was” used to make the reusable bags.

The second statistic is disturbing, too, because polypropylene is not often recycled in the US. The increase in production also contributed to a 500% spike in greenhouse gas emissions.

FCR also found the shift away from single-use plastic bags created a windfall for New Jersey businesses. Retailers have begun selling alternative, reusable bags to consumers since they no longer offer traditional bags. Customers also have to pay for new reusable bags every time they order grocery pickup. That has led to a massive spike in sales, and a cost analysis found stores can profit as much as $200,000 annually at just one location. The researchers said one major retailer has made “an estimated $42 million in profit across all its bag sales in” the state.

Another issue the state is noticing is that some people are just buying reusable bags over and over again. The bags just pile up in their homes, or worse, the consumer throws them away as they would single-use bags. Fox News reported that the problems with the bags have caused some lawmakers to bring up the idea of changing the law to require delivery services to use paper bags or cardboard boxes. Those efforts have stalled.

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