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Bloomberg reports that New Jersey is the first state "to ban both plastic and paper bags," which leaves "companies and shoppers to find creative workarounds to get their groceries home."

According to the story, "ShopRite, with more than 100 New Jersey stores, will charge a flat $1.50 per order for reusable bags. Instacart Inc., which fulfills shoppers’ lists for Aldi Inc., Lidl Ltd., CVS Health Corp. and others, said it will charge a flat bag fee, but didn’t specify the cost.

"Amazon.com Inc.’s Whole Foods Markets Inc. -- which dropped plastic bags nationally more than a decade ago -- will pack those orders in reusable bags, for which it is “not currently charging any additional fees,” the company said in an email. The Wawa Inc. convenience-store chain will give away 1,000 reusable bags at each of its 272 New Jersey locations starting on Wednesday."

Bloomberg writes that "New Jersey may not be alone for long: Some studies have shown that paper, though easily recycled, can sap more energy and raw materials than plastic. Reusable bags, too, have drawbacks, as cotton versions are soil-, fertilizer-, and manufacturing-intensive, and synthetic types often rely on fossil fuels.\

"The 100 billion plastic bags used in the U.S each year require 12 million gallons of oil to manufacture, according to EarthDay.org, a Washington-based non-profit environmental group. 

"Places that outlawed plastic have seen use drop dramatically. California, the first state to ban single-use bags in 2016, cut plastic carryout bag use by 20,000 tons (18 million kilograms) a year, according to research by University of Sydney economist Rebecca Taylor. But that figure was offset by a 120% increase in sales of small trash-bin liners as consumers who had re-purposed single-use bags filled the void."

In related news, this story from the Washington Post:

"Americans are recycling far less plastic, according to an analysis published Wednesday, with rates falling below 6 percent in 2021. The new findings come as this waste has rebounded from the pandemic, despite global efforts to curb pollution.

"The research from Beyond Plastics and the Last Beach Cleanup aims to shed light on the state of recycling in the United States given a delay in federal reporting. The Environmental Protection Agency last published recycling rates in 2020 based off data through 2018 and did not update it last year.

"Drawing on the most recent EPA data available and last year’s plastic-waste exports, the new report estimates that Americans recycled 5 to 6 percent of their plastics, down from the 8.7 percent in 2018. But the real figure could be even lower, it added, given factors such as the plastic waste collected for recycling that is 'sent to cement kilns and burned'."

KC's View:

I know there will be a lot of pushback on this, but as a consumer, I must say that I don't really understand it.   It is rare that I walk into the store without carrying my own bags;  I've developed the habit, and we just keep the bags in the back of the car.  It doesn't seem all that hard to do the little things, the right things.