In 2020, New Jersey joined many states fighting “climate change” by declaring war on plastic bags. The state legislature passed a bill to ban single-use plastic bags. With much fanfare, then-Governor Phil Murphy signed the bag ban that he considered a milestone in tackling the state’s climate issues.
“With the historic signing of this bill today, we are directly addressing the issue of plastic pollution, offering solutions that will combat climate change and protect our environment for generations to come,” the governor said.
Three years later, critics are clamoring for the government to repeal the law. The bag ban has backfired. Studies show the much-ballyhooed law is increasing greenhouse gases, inconveniencing shoppers, costing consumers more money, and putting greater amounts of plastic in landfills.
According to a recent study by Freedonia Custom Research, those who advocated the cutback on single-use plastic bags did not do their homework before the law’s implementation in 2020.
The sheer number of these thin plastic bags fell by 60 percent. However, the thicker multi-use bags the law mandated take triple the amount of plastic to make. The new heavier, non-woven polypropylene bags rarely see more than a few trips to the store before being discarded.
To make matters worse, the report claims that “Most of these alternative bags are made with non-woven polypropylene, which is not widely recycled in the United States and does not typically contain any post-consumer recycled materials.”
Thus, fewer but heavier, non-recyclable bags translates into more plastic waste.
The American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance commissioned the study to explore the extent of the ban’s unintended consequences. Although the measure seemed like a step in the right direction to help clean up the environment, switching to reusable, sturdier bags was a disaster. The larger carbon footprint of manufacturing these bags has led to a staggering 500 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions and more plastic in landfills!
The stark reality is that the law did not reduce CO2, unclutter homes or promote reuse. Statistics show that 90 percent of those ‘reusable’ bags are thrown out after minimal use. This un-green outcome could have been avoided if the climate alarmists had done the study first based on a small control group to predict the outcome.
Critics of the controversial law argue that the bag ban has done more harm than good because it is not based on real science but on feelings and perceptions. Green initiatives prioritize symbolism over substance, making their actions fit the narrative and not the environmental needs of localities.
The American Recyclable report challenges New Jersey lawmakers to remedy the disaster. It also serves as a cautionary tale for other states considering similar legislation. Seemingly “well-intentioned” environmental policies must be underpinned by robust, transparent analysis that accounts for the entire lifecycle of alternative solutions. Impressions alone often end in disaster.
Sadly, most environmentalists never do the math, don’t bother to follow the science and are not interested in the facts. Their initiatives are based on emotion and devoid of logic and facts. They don’t care if they blunder into solutions that do not benefit the environment as long as they feel good about it.
Photo Credit: © Olga Miltsova – stock.adobe.com