Perspective: Torrissi in Trenton
The Bag Ban is here, and nobody’s happy about it besides Democrats in Trenton.
On Wednesday, New Jersey officially enacted the strictest bag ban in the country, getting rid of everything from plastic bags to paper bags and to-go containers. I was not in the legislature when the Bag Ban was voted on, but if I was, I would’ve been a resounding no along with every other Republican in the Assembly.
At a time when inflation is squeezing every pocketbook, turning a trip to the grocery store into a bankruptcy-inducing event, New Jersey Democrats felt the need to turn the screws a little more. We all still need bags, and banning them in stores is nothing more than passing the cost on to consumers who will now just have to add them to their monthly purchases.
I know it’s not the most scientific way to make laws or handle business, but sometimes politicians have to ask themselves one simple question before making things tougher for the general public: Is this really something people need right now?
Can’t we just cut people a break? As if they don’t have other things to worry about, now they have to see their stash of 100 plastic bags stuffed inside another plastic bag dwindle while wondering what’s going to go inside their mini garbage cans when the stash runs out.
And if it’s a scientific argument you want to make, it’s never been clear that banning bags has ever really helped the environment. One UK government study showed that you would have to reuse a tote bag hundreds of times before it becomes more environmentally friendly than a plastic bag, and forget about a cloth bag—a Danish government study showed you’d have to reuse it thousands of times before it becomes more environmentally- friendly than a plastic bag.
Few people are carrying the same raggedy tote bag around to every store they visit for the next decade. In 20 years, we’ll have an environmental study on the harmful effects of tote bags and how we need to ban those and switch to pillow cases.
This is all to say that whether you use 20 plastic bags while shopping, order 30 Amazon packages to your doorstep every week or mine for Bitcoin on your freetime, everyone everywhere is doing something to hurt the environment, and the only way it’s going to get better is if people make the personal decision to consume less and live a simpler lifestyle. But that’s not for the government to decide. That’s between you and yourself.
So next time you’re in Wawa and already bought a drink for you and a friend, a hoagie, a bag of chips and a cookie for later and then think, “crap, how am I getting this to my car,” just remember, I was perfectly fine with you getting a bag.
Michael Torrissi Jr.