To give credit where it's due, I first saw this list on NJ.com. As we get closer to an inevitable statewide ban on plastic bags, it's a list of all New Jersey towns that have already banned them.

I hate that towns are doing this. The more progressive policy is put in place at the local level the less voice the rest of the state will have to push back when they attempt this at the state level.

First, the list. While plenty more towns are considering bans on stores giving plastic bags, these are the towns where it's already illegal.

Avalon
Beach Haven
Belmar
Bradley Beach
Brigantine
Harvey Cedars
Highland Park
Hoboken
Lambertville
Long Beach
Longport
Monmouth Beach
Point Pleasant Beach
Somers Point
Stafford Township
Stone Harbor
Ventnor

In just days you can add Jersey City to this list. Their ban begins on June 28.

Some of these towns banned them but with the allowance that a store has to charge the customer money for each bag they insist on having. Many others have done an outright ban with no exceptions. Some, like Monmouth Beach and Lambertville have gone so far as to ban not only plastic bags but plastic straws and Styrofoam food containers.

It's going to happen people, and it's a shame. This is an unfunded mandate forced on businesses that politicians haven't thought all the way through. For one thing, think about major grocery stores and the infrastructure at the cashier station. Some will have limited counter space for the larger, more cumbersome reusable totes people will have to lug around. Others have a carousel system that holds plastic bags as the cashier fills them. Who is going to pay for all of those to be ripped out and replaced with larger, flat surfaces for the cashier and/or customer to have space to load those reusables? Not the state of New Jersey, that's for sure.

Here are some myths about the evil of plastic bags.

Myth: Plastic bags are just a convenience.
Fact: Plastic shopping bags are not just a convenience and are not single-use only. Plastic shopping bags not only serve to carry items home from a store but are then reused to help manage a household and for pet waste and many other purposes.

Myth: Reusable bags are greener and better for the environment.
Fact: Not so. Stronger, heavier bags made to last longer and be reused, no matter what material they are made from, use more resources in their production and therefore have a greater impact on the environment. They studied this at Denmark's Ministry of Environment and compared the environmental impact of reusable cotton totes to plastic bags and paper bags. Turns out because of the manufacturing process, organic cotton totes fared THE WORST. They would need to be reused many thousands of times (beyond their life cycle) to have the same environmental footprint as a lightweight plastic bag. And nobody talks about this.

Myth: Plastic bags are a large part of the waste stream and landfills.
Fact: Plastic bags usually compromise less than 1% of a landfill. In a study in Toronto, they represent only 0.6% of the waste stream.

You're inconveniencing customers, burdening businesses, and you're not saving the environment. Way to go Trenton!

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