Not so long ago, New Jersey state Governor Phil Murphy, vetoed a bill that puts a 5 cent fee on every bag handed out at chain supermarkets and retailers. This is for paper and plastic bags. The purpose is to discourage the use of single-use plastic bags and start incentivizing people to use reusable bags. New Jersey lawmakers not so long after that started considering another bill that will ban plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam containers.
Find out more information here NJ.com
This wouldn’t be the first state to enact a plastic bag ban along with other environmental regulations. In 2016 California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. Hawaii and California are the only two states with statewide plastic bag use.
Altogether, 349 cities, counties, and states also have, in someway, banned or taxed plastic bag use.
You may be wondering why the need for this taxation and or ban on plastic bags? According to Reuse This Bag plastic bag has a 12 minute lifespan from when it’s filled with groceries at the grocery store when discarded. Plastic bags weigh heavily on long-term environmental impact. The bags make it into the oceans contributing to the 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean a minute. Plastics such as, single-use items like bags, straws, and utensils are not
biodegradable, they just float in the water. This means they pollute the water as well as the land, which we need to survive. The use of plastic bags have become the greatest issues humans are facing in their contemporary life. As for land, wind can blow plastic bags causing them to be placed through fences and floats, and between trees. There’s no denying that this is harmful to human, wild, and marine life.
Would a plastic bag ban be the solution? Where is proof that this has ever worked?
“Los Angeles County, which has more people than New Jersey, put in a ban … a 94 percent reduction in plastic bag uses. When Contra Costa County put in a ban, they saw an 89 percent decrease in plastic bags found in storm drains and a more than 60 percent decrease in bags found in streams.” said the New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel. Environmental groups are ambitious to put this legislation of a plastic bag ban and a fee on paper bags in place.
No matter how good of an idea something may sound there’s always a downside. That’s not to discourage any sort of advocacy and brush it off our shoulders. That means we should ask ourselves, is it worth the sacrifice? Do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa? What are the pros and cons for banning plastic causing consumers to use reusable bags?
It will better for Marine life- They will be less likely to consume plastic which could cause them to become ill and sometimes be fatal. The will often mistaken the plastic for plankton or jellyfish.
Only a small percentage of plastic bags actually are thrown into recycling bins despite the fact that they are recyclable. So, it would make sense to switch to reusable bags that will last longer so it doesn’t harm our environment.
It will save tax money- Picking up litter is expensive so not having to worry about cleaning up plastic bags will definitely make it so the money could be spent on something more important in our community.
It will improve infrastructure- it will lessen the chances of clogged drainage systems which means less floods.
They will leave us less dependent on limited the non-renewable resource- because it will minimize the need for petroleum.
Minimize the mosquito population- plastic bags collect rainwater creating a breeding ground for mosquitoes. (This is one of my favorite out of all these reasons).
Manufacturers may scale back- Ban may mean that the manufacturers may cause job layoffs.
Cost shoppers more money- Shoppers may be pushed to buy reusable bags, that does mean that the cost will be driven up to a dollar or more to purchase them. (Lets keep in mind that cheaper isn’t always better so maybe it will be worth it).
Read more here Pros&cons of plastic bag ban
Its a no brainer this ban would do more good than harm but, that doesn’t mean the cons shouldn’t be taken into account. For those who get laid off, what does that mean for them? The loss of jobs is always something to worry about. Overall, its important to always do what is right and that is knowing the majority of citizens will benefit from them for health and money expense purposes. Not everyone works as a manufacturer of plastic bags, but we all use infrastructure, need clean water and land, and also could spend less in tax money picking up litter so the money could go to something more meaningful. Plus, who would be in opposition of not having to worry about mosquitoes? Ouch!