What would you do without the plastic bags you get from the supermarket?

How would you pick up after your dog? What would you use to carry your lunch?

They come in so handy…so it figures that the N.J. Senate would reintroduce a bill that would force stores to charge 15 cents for each plastic or paper bag distributed. The bill has since been amended that would force stores to charge 5 cents a bag.

During the summer, when the idea of banning the bags altogether was being floted, I wrote that it seemed to make sense to put a deposit on the bags insuring that when customers would be making return trips to the supermarket, they could get a refund on the bags, or do like one North Jersey merchant is doing, and giving the refund to those who use reusable bags.

Legislation encouraging customers in New Jersey to carry reusable shopping bags and forcing larger retailers to slash distribution of plastic bags gets its first hearing today.

The Senate bill requires retailers to charge 15 cents for each single-use plastic or paper bag they give out. It also requires retailers with more than 1,000 feet of space to reduce the number of single-use bags they distribute by 75 percent.

The proposal requires retailers to sell reusable bags and switch to compostable plastic or recyclable paper bags.

Supporters say the production of plastic and paper bags in the U.S. uses 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees a year.

The bill will be heard by the Senate Environmental Committee.

A similar bill stalled during the prior session.

Allowing the merchants to come up with their own solutions would work best…like the deposit idea noted above.

And besides, as I’ve stated previously, the bags would make great currency for the homeless…just like returnable bottles and recyclable products.