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The Hidden Consequences of NJ’s Single Use Plastic Bag Ban

In recent years, the movement to ban plastic bags has gained significant momentum across the United States, including in New Jersey. In fact, a total of 15 states and 500 cities have taken action and banned single-use plastic bags. While this measure was initially hailed as a victory for reducing plastic pollution, it has inadvertently led to a new and unexpected problem for the state. In this blog, we explore the current status of the plastic bag ban in New Jersey, its implications, and the urgent need for action.

From what we know from reputable sources and reports; while New Jersey was successful in the reduction of single-use bags from littering our environment, they have created an unexpected, new problem for the state by allowing reusable bags primarily made from petroleum-based polyethylene and polypropylene plastic into retail. If you live in a state or city where single-use plastic bags are banned, you are probably familiar with the reusable bags that are offered at your local grocery. You may also have a closet, drawer, or designated space where you keep your collection of reusable bags. So what happens when you throw away your thicker, reusable plastic bags? Well… they end up back in landfills and waterways but this time, more detrimental than ever. 

Plastic bags of any thickness are a prolonged danger to our environment. Recent and continued reports have discovered that when plastics eventually break down, they leave micro and nano-plastics behind that migrate into the plants and foods that we consume. The medical field now shows that plastics are in our bodies and bloodstreams which can lead to harmful effects for ourselves and future generations.

At PlasTechFree, we are deeply concerned about the lack of information provided to the public by the State of New Jersey regarding this issue. Rather than addressing the new problem created by the influx of thicker plastic bags, there appears to be a tendency to celebrate the perceived success of the single-use bag ban. 

However, there are viable alternatives available. Plant-based compostable bags offer a sustainable solution to the plastic bag dilemma. Unlike bags labeled as biodegradable, which often contain plastic and pose risks to the environment and human health, certified home compostable bags are truly eco-friendly.  These bags have undergone rigorous testing and are designed to disintegrate within 180 days under soil or composting conditions, leaving behind only nutrient-rich compost.

It is imperative for New Jersey residents to recognize their voice in effecting change. By speaking up and advocating for sustainable alternatives, residents can compel local authorities to reconsider their policies and embrace eco-friendly solutions. This involves actively participating in town meetings, engaging with decision-makers, and demanding transparency regarding environmental initiatives. Moreover, we believe that New Jersey has the potential to lead by example. By committing to the elimination of plastic bags and actively seeking out plant-based alternatives, the state can inspire other regions to follow suit. Such proactive measures are essential in combating the pervasive threat of plastic pollution and safeguarding the well-being of our planet for future generations.

Ultimately, the need for change is urgent. While some may view plastics as a profitable commodity, we at PlasTechFree recognize them as a pressing environmental and health concern. The time for action is now. The change must begin with us, and together, we can pave the way for a cleaner, greener future.

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