Our neighbor New York just had a single-use plastic bag ban their legislature. When this is signed into law they will be the third state with a statewide ban behind California and Hawaii. In New York's case, plastic bags will not be allowed to be used by stores beginning March 1, 2020. Individual counties will have the option to use paper bags but they'd have to charge customers 5 cents per.

Can it be much longer before New Jersey is added to this list? There was a bill last year that was vetoed by Phil Murphy but not because he opposed a ban; because he felt it didn't go far enough. It's still in play and will no doubt come back as an even harsher law.

Environmentalists will indeed love the story out this week about the body of a pregnant whale washed up in Sardinia, Italy that had 49 pounds of plastic in its stomach. The beached whale's remains had garbage bags, fishing nets, lines, tubes, the bag of a washing machine liquid still identifiable with brand and barcode and other unknown plastic items. Can't this be one small example of the problem being not plastic bags but what we do with them? Why should any plastic bag end up in our oceans? We can recycle these and hardly anyone is doing it. Is a ban the best fix?

Our legislature not being one to listen to reason, you can bet a plastic bag ban is coming. So what can you do? Sure, they want you to carry around those reusable totes (which have been shown in scientific testing to be unhygienic) that the stores will happily sell to you. Or you could do this:

Buy your own. Sure, your shouldn't have to. But there's nothing in any legislation proposed (so far anyway) that would prevent the customer from using the kind of carrying receptacle they want; only the store. You could go online to places like storesupply.com and get for instance 1,000 plastic bags for $14.95. That works out to less than 2 cents per bag. Far less than they've proposed charging you if you request one, and still worth it when they don't even make that an option. And imagine the fun you'll have with all the disdainful looks you get from the environmentalists with their canvas totes when you whip out your own plastic bags?

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