The one-use wonder
One for your water, one for your goods, one for your food—plastic turns up in our daily lives more than we stop to notice. Approximately 380 metric tons of plastic are produced annually, with an estimated 50% intended for a single-use purpose. The fast-paced lives we lead are a perfect distraction from our overuse of plastic products, but states are taking their own strides towards conscious efforts to do things a little bit better.
BYOB - Bring your Own Bags
Last May, New Jersey enacted their ban on single-use plastic bags in grocery and retail stores to encourage customers to bring their own eco-friendly reusable bags. Paper bags are given when necessary at restaurants, convenience stores, pharmacies, and retail, but are not available at grocery stores any larger than 2,500 square feet. Reusable bags are sold instead, encouraging patrons to buy these affordable bags to bring along to their future visits as well.
At ChicoBag, accessible reusable bags are at the core of our mission, and we’re proud to highlight other businesses and officials working towards eliminating single-use plastic. New Jersey is doing things a #littlebitbetter with their plastic bag ban, and nearly a year into it, we’re excited to see the positive impact it’s had:
Before the ban, New Jersey was already taking steps to reduce single-use plastic. They estimated a whopping 8.4 billion shopping bags had been kept out of landfills and waterways.
Less than a year after the ban, these numbers skyrocketed. In February 2023, New Jersey Food Council polled 160 food retailers across the state, reporting that collectively, the stores have eliminated 55 million single-use plastic bags per month in the state since the ban went into effect. And New Jersey isn’t the only state to see encouraging results from banning single-use plastic in stores. Take California's 2016 plastic bag ban for example: since their ban, beach cleanup crews in 2017 reported a 72% drop in plastic bag litter on beaches when compared to cleanup data in 2010.
The United States now has eight states total with plastic bag laws in place, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Oregon, and New York—and with these new legislations yielding positive results, we can only hope there are more to follow.