Congrats, NJ — It’s Been 1 Year Since Plastic Bags Were Ripped Out of Your Hands
Today marks a special anniversary in the Garden State. On this day one year ago, plastic bags were ripped right out of your hands.
And if you're like me, you still forget to bring your reusable bags with you when you go shopping, which makes you utter four-letter words at all of the politicians that voted for this ban (that's one of my favorite hobbies here in New Jersey).
It's not that I forget to bring them. Sure, sometimes I do. But in most cases, I'll not bring a bag into a store when I intend to only grab one or two things. Then I wind up buying a whole cart full of stuff, which I either then load into my car one item at a time -- or, I buy even more reusable bags.
And, again, if you are like me, you know have an entire closet full of reusable bags, many only used once.
(Observation: I think I actually reused single-use plastic bags more than I reuse reusable bags...)
So, what has happened over the past 12 months?
The first thing to get stolen were those plastic hand baskets that stores used to offer.
Those all seemed to disappear within about a week of the plastic bag ban.
Stores now seem to have those again, which the cost of, I'm sure, was all passed along to you and me. They're not cheap.
Shopping carts disappear a lot more often, too.
I took this picture a few months ago. These are all of the shopping carts recently collected from one apartment complex that is just around the corner from a Walmart in Atlantic County.
If you go to Walmart to stock up and you don't have bags, everyone just takes a cart home with them and, of course, they never get brought back.
Walmart now has a couple of guys in a big truck (that spews pollution) that drives around and collects them once and a while. Like the hand baskets, that cost is passed along to you and me, too.
In fact, this is such a problem now that at least one South Jersey town was considering fining people for taking shopping carts from stores.
And it wasn't just plastic bags. Plastic straws went "poof," too. You're not allowed to have those here. The same way a 4-year-old can't have a snack before dinner.
Instead, we get paper straws now.
Boy, those are fantastic... said no one. Ever.
It's a good thing we're "saving the environment" now by putting a paper straw... in a plastic cup with a plastic lid.
Now, I'm not anti-environment. Were we using too many plastic bags in New Jersey? Sure. I mean, they were everywhere.
Those that support the bag ban will quickly point out that you no longer see them blowing around on the side of the road and they're not being collected during beach clean-up sweeps -- which is true... because when you take something away from people, you typically won't see it anymore. But these days, a victory is a victory, I suppose.
But it also seems to be that those that support the bag ban won't look you in the eye when you mention all of the dead dolphins and whales that have been washing up on the beaches around here over the past several months.
Good thing we're "saving the environment."