The counting down to New Jersey's severe bag ban has begun in just two days to go before new regulations take force at supermarkets bodegas, restaurants, retail stores and schools.
Although it was true that the Garden State survived without single-use plastic bags prior to the 1980s, in those days paper bags were used to (literally) take on the burden. It won't be that way all over the country by the time May arrives.
Here's everything you should be aware of where the paper bags will be banned and allowed to be used throughout the state after the ban begins on May 4 and the reasons behind it.
What is the scope of the ban?
Paper bags will be banned at stores with at least 2,500 square feet as per the law that was signed on November. 4 2020. The average grocery store size is approximately 38,800 square feet.
Customers can select bags made of reusable material, which the largest supermarket chains offer or take your own bag from their homes.
What are the reasons paper bags are included in the ban on plastic bags?
In the days when lawmakers were drafting the ban on plastic bags, the food industry lobbyed for plastic bags to be banned from big stores (again not the smaller delis and grocery stores). Paper bags consume longer to make as opposed to plastic bags industry professionals have claimed, and are also more expensive for stores to purchase.
"There was plenty of discussion about the other eight states with no plastic bags and they discovered that not enough customers brought in baggies of their own. They were simply transitioning into paper bags. I am grateful to the legislature for taking an important decision about this issue," stated Gemenden.
"We have been the only state in America to address plastic and paper. Paper bags also have their own carbon footprint , and consume a significant amount of energy to produce as well as a great deal of wood," she added. "I am aware that a lot of people are upset about the lack of them, but this is a method to create New Jersey a reusable bag state."