Landfills and plastic bags are actually good for New Jersey (Opinion)
Unfortunately, New Jersey continues to suffer the fools of virtue signalers and corrupt politicians who care more about headlines than results.
We've seen this same thing repeated over and over again as policymakers grab onto issues with a lot of emotion and not a ton of facts. The result is NJ taxpayers, families, businesses, and everyday people have to deal with the consequences.
The latest round of ridiculousness is the plastic bag ban. I've been writing and speaking about this for several years now. We need more plastic bags, not fewer.
First of all, the term "single-use plastic bag" is intentionally misleading as it paints a picture of an environmental hazard that only has limited use. Not. True.
Disposable plastic bags are great for carrying products out from a store, especially for helping people with disabilities shop independently.
The bags are also environmentally friendlyly being 100% recyclable and using exponentially LESS water and fossil fuels in the manufacturing process and taking up way less landfill space as paper bags or the reusable cloth, canvass, and plastic bags being pushed by policymakers. Here are a few facts from www.bagtheban.com.
When it comes to reusable bags, they can "take up to 9.3% more space than plastic bags in landfills."
The reusable bags must also be reused at least 131 times to have "the same environmental performance" as a one-time-use plastic bag.
The disposable bags are also used to line trash cans around the house, deliver gifts to friends and pick up after the dog after they are used to get your groceries out of the store and into the car. Hardly "single" use.
Much of the emotion surrounding the rush to ban modern conveniences like plastic bags is based on the very false premise that we are somehow running out of landfill space. According to experts, that is far from the case. As a matter of fact, one credible estimate is that we have enough space for the current pace of consumption for the next 62 years.
Bryan Staley, PhD, PE, president and chief executive officer of the Environmental Research & Education Foundation (EREF), says available landfill capacity is very specific to locale and region. Many smaller landfills are facing capacity issuers, but larger regional landfills have plenty of space, he says. Nationally, Staley says he estimates that the U.S. has about 62 years of landfill capacity remaining in its current facilities.
Four years ago, when the ban reared its ugly head in the Garden State, I wrote and spoke to you about the importance of landfills and the misinformation being used to create policy.
Beyond having plenty of space, landfills are an environmentally friendly way of powering homes. The capacity of just one company, Waste Management, is enough to power nearly a half-million American households. This saves millions of barrels of oil helping Americans achieve energy independence.
Towns in Texas are adopting this clean technology to power homes, lower costs and generate local revenue. And for those of you concerned about "greenhouse" gasses, using methane to power homes is the smartest move possible.
Plastic bags are simply the better environmental option. Between the positive impact of plastic bags and the unintended consequences of bans, there is no doubt that NJ is on the wrong track and on the wrong side of history with the latest ban. Here are some facts to digest from my friends at "Bag the Ban":
LANDFILL WASTE INCREASES: According to the EPA, “plastic bags and sacks” account for 0.3% of municipal solid waste.⁵ Plastic retail bags are a fraction of this number.
LITTLE TO NO IMPACT ON OVERALL LITTER: Plastic retail bags comprise a very small portion of litter – typically less than 1%.
Let's hope that we have a governor in the future who will revisit these flawed and failed policy decisions and change the course in NJ to stand up for average people, facts and stop catering to the click-bait special interests and media sources.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.