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Paper or Plastic? “None of The Above”, Says New Jersey

There is clearly a plastic problem on this planet, but is saddling Garden State taxpayers with enforcing an all-out ban on bags the most effective solution?

Scientists the world over have been warning us about regarding mankind’s unkind effects on our planet for years, but recent reports are growing more dire by the day.

Sure, some of this is alarmism for the sake of politics or corporate greed, (or both in Al Gore’s case), but we would be foolish as a species not to show concern over some of negative impacts that we’ve had on the planet’s overall health.

No, I’m not turning into some hippy-dippy eco warrior whois going to chain himself to a tree, but videos like the one below clearly illustrate that there is an issue.

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We have a duty as Americans to set an example on the world’s stage here.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch isn’t our doing, not by a long shot, but as a society that the world looks to for innovation it is important for us to be at the forefront of the effort to do better.

New Jersey is tackling the issue of plastic pollution by considering a ban on all bags:  Plastic and paper.

In August 2018, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that would have imposed a five-cent fee on both paper and plastic carryout bags, arguing that the legislation did not do enough to protect the Garden State’s famed natural beauty.

“Single-use carryout bags—particularly plastic bags—represent a significant source of the litter that clutters our communities and mars New Jersey’s beautiful shoreline and parks,” wrote Murphy in his veto statement. “Instituting a five-cent fee on single-use bags that only applies to certain retailers does not go far enough.”

State legislators have clearly heard this message, floating proposals to ban not just plastic grocery bags, but all single-use bags—paper or plastic.

How exactly would this deterrent operate?

Working its way though the legislature right now is S2776. As written, the legislation would ban food service businesses and other retailers who have stores larger than 1,000 square feet from providing their customers with plastic bags. The bill would also naturally ban plastic straws.

Violators would be fined anywhere from $500 to $5,000 depending on the number of offenses.

While the effort is valiant, there are obvious concerns about expanding the role of government in the case.

Every bit of regulation or enforcement that New Jersey is proposing will cost Garden State taxpayers more money, and the fines themselves could be hugely detrimental to small business owners who are slow to evolve.

Yes, there is a plastic problem in the world, but we must be cautious in believing that more government involvement is the best solution.


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