Despite the implementation of a plastic ban in 2022 aimed at combating the issue of plastic pollution, a recent study from a business-research firm has revealed that plastic consumption in New Jersey has tripled.
The findings indicate a concerning trend, raising questions about the effectiveness of the ban and emphasizing the ongoing challenges in managing plastic waste within the state.
According to yahoo.com, The study found that the state’s law banning single-use plastic bags led to a 60% decrease in the total bag volume, according to analysis from the Freedonia Report, MarketResearch.com’s business research division.
However, as consumers started searching for alternatives and purchasing plastic reusable bags, the state saw plastic consumption triple, largely because of the material used in the alternative bags, the report shows.
“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,” the report states. The ban, which took effect in May 2022, prevented large retailers, groceries and food service stores from distributing the plastic bags, reports Fox29.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, upon signing the bill, said the measure would address New Jersey’s “most problematic forms of garbage” and “help mitigate climate change and strengthen our environment for future generations,” Stores eliminate plastics bags: Aldi eliminates plastic shopping bags in all 2,300 US grocery stores. The ban also affected retailers, with some stories reporting an increase in sales because of the need for alternative bags.
“An in-depth cost analysis evaluating New Jersey grocery retailers reveals a typical store can profit $200,000 per store location from alternative bag sales,” states the study. “For one major retailer, this amounts to an estimated $42 million in profit across all its bag sales in NJ.” Meanwhile, in an environmental initiative on the international front, the Lagos State government in Nigeria has declared a ban on the usage and distribution of styrofoam and other single-use plastics across the state.
According to thecable.ng, single-use plastic products (SUPs) are often used once or for a short period before being disposed, with a drastic impact on the environment and health. Styrofoam, commonly used in disposable packs or plates, also poses environmental challenges.
Announcing the ban, Tokunbo Wahab, commissioner for environment and water resources in Lagos, stated that single-use plastics, especially non-biodegradable styrofoam, have become a menace in the densely populated city, prompting the government to take swift action.
This move aligns with global efforts to reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastics, addressing challenges such as clogged drainage channels and canals in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital. The ban takes immediate effect and signifies a significant step in the state’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
Do plastic bans help?
Single-use plastic bans are a way to curb the pollution and emissions created by the production of the material, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But, the search for alternatives to carry groceries and other products from the store leads to the purchase of products that increase the pollution caused by manufacturing the bags.
A study published by Environmental and Resource Economics also suggests that plastic bag bans can lead to an increase in purchases of garbage bags. “We estimate that (carryout grocery bag) regulations lead to an average increase in purchased plastics of 127 pounds per store per month,” states the study.