New meaning for a ‘Nickel Bag’
Forty six plastic bags came into my house last week. Twenty two of them were wrapped daily and weekend newsp pandora charms uk apers tossed on the porch, two held dry cleaning, one was from the pharmacy, three were from mall stores, seventeen contained groceries (some double bagged) and one with a sample toothpaste was hun pandora charms uk g on my doorknob.
If Bill 812, sponsored by Sen. Bob Smith, D Piscataway, had already become law, the ones from the mall and the supermarket would have cost me five cents apiece but the others would have been free.
All of them ended up in the trash inside a big black plastic bag, of course and were carted off to a landfill where they joined some of the estimated 14 billion other disposable plastic bags thrown out by American consumers each year. According to Smith, it took 12 million barrels of oil to make those bags and they became toxic after disposal, contaminating soil and waterways or choking unwary animals.
Although there weren any paper bags making their way to my house, they went somewhere because 10 billion of them are used and tossed out each year, too. Although they decompose quickly and safely, manufacturing them necessitated cutting down 14 million trees, and getting rid of them bulked up the landfills.
So Smith, Chairman of the New Jersey Senate Environment Committee, wants us all to stop using them.
If his bill becomes law, in 2014 each disposable carryout bag provided by a store will cost the customer five cents, one penny of which the store retains (presumably to cover the cost of required quarterly reporting on bag usage) and the balance is forwarded to the State Division of Environmental Protection to clean up Barnegat Bay. Also, by 2015 even the disposable bags you are willing to pay for must be recyclable according to specific standards. Stores that don comply may be fined up to $500 per violation.
As the first paragraph hinted, there are plenty of exceptions. Those dry cleaning bags, the newspaper wraps, anything containing medications, frozen food, unwrapped prepared food or bakery items, meat, fish pandora charms uk , or flowers. (That half my supermarket list.)
Not surprisingly, retail merchants are strongly opposed to the bill. They say a penny a bag won begin to cover their costs, and sorting the items to go into bags from the ones that go into for bags will slow down cashier lines and cause confusion at self checkout kiosks.
Some local supermarkets already recycle plastic bags and offer credits to patrons who bring their own totes, and some big discount stores never provide wr pandora charms uk appings but permit customers to scrounge through bins of discarded cartons to find something to carry home their purchases.
Environmentally sensitive consumers love the idea of encouraging use of recyclable bags and many of them boast they already using permanent shopping totes. Health conscious consumers, along with some just plain lazy ones, claim the multi use bags are unsanitary unless they are thoroughly cleaned after every shopping trip, then stored and carried safely. And there are some folks who don give a hoot about Barnegat Bay and wonder why nothing would be spent to clean up their nearby waterway.
The bill drew a lot of attention when it was introduced but made it only a quarter of the way through the legislative process in 2012. It a tough bill for any legislators to vote against because it sounds so worthy, although they know there be a backlash from unhappy constituents who can be bothered to carry their own bags but will resent paying for disposable ones.