environmental activismFeaturedNew Jerseyplastic bag ban

They Banned Plastic Bags and Increased Plastic Usage by 300% – HotAir

Have you heard of the law of unintended consequences?

Of course, you have. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of people who support environmental activists and politicians, whose business model seems to be “complain about a problem and then make it much worse.”

It’s a good business model if the goal is to acquire money and power. Useful idiots will contribute to your nonprofits and your campaigns. They will get out and vote.

Of course, if the goal is to achieve what you claim to want, then the unintended consequence will come as a suprise.

Plastic bag bans were never a good idea, and I suspect that the activists and politicians pushing them knew that to be the case. Their supporters? Not so much. They love the idea of “doing something” to make the world a better place and have outsourced the minimal level of thinking to others. Don’t like plastic? Ban it!

In real life, it’s not so easy. There are costs and benefits to whatever you do, and often the costs of addressing a problem are higher than the benefits of “doing something.”

Hopefully, the low-information voters of New Jersey will learn a lesson from this experiment.

Plastic consumption in New Jersey spiked by nearly three times following the state’s implementation of a strict ban on single-use plastic shopping bags, a study found.

“Following New Jersey’s ban of single-use bags, the shift from plastic film to alternative bags resulted in a nearly 3x increase in plastic consumption for bags,” Freedonia Custom Research (FCR), a business research division for MarketResearch.com, reported in a study published this month.

New Jersey implemented a ban on single-use plastic bags in 2022, the strictest ban on bags in the nation at the time, billing it as an effort to cut back on the plastic one-use bags piling up in landfills.

How big a problem is the accumulation of single-use plastic bags in landfills? I would put it somewhere above the sun’s inevitable fate of turning into a Red Giant star and somewhat below the frequency of bicycle thefts. In other words, not a problem that should be on the radar when others need to be solved first.

But leading the charge against plastic bags is an easy way to get liberals all hot and bothered. Environmental groups can get donations to fight for Mother Earth, and politicians can crusade against a nonexistent threat. Everybody who matters to these crusaders wins.

Of course consumers and Mother Earth both lose, but they don’t care about that. Honestly, they don’t. Money was raised and elections were won, so who cares? And nobody in their world ever pays a price for screwing things up. Ask Tony Fauci, whose crusading turned him into a hero as he immiserated hundreds of millions of people.

So what happened? Why did it turn out like this, and could it have been predicted? To the latter, of course, the answer is “Yes.” All you need to do is put your thinking cap on.

The ban took effect in May 2022, forbidding larger retail, grocery and food service stores from providing single-use plastic bags to customers. Instead, shoppers may purchase reusable bags made of woven and non-woven polypropylene plastic, or can bring their previously-purchased reusable bags to the store.

It didn’t take long, however, until shoppers started airing their grievances to local media that the reusable bags were stacking up in their homes due to repeatedly purchasing reusable bags at the grocery store, or due to home grocery delivery services using new reusable bags each drop-off.

“I keep them in the basement,” one New Jersey mom told NJ Advance Media in 2022. “I have another bag by the door in case I go out to the farmer’s market. Most of them are brand new, even have the tag on them. I use them one time but don’t throw them out.”

I have a few reusable bags that I acquired somehow, and never use them either. They are inconvenient, get disgusting quickly (food poisoning happens if you don’t wash them), and the only people who use them regularly were using them before any ban came about. They are a hassle.

I don’t remember to bring them to Costco, where they don’t even give you bags. I wind up picking up one of their boxes and having to recycle that.

Instead of having the intended beneficial impact on the environment, the reusable bag ban has actually backfired, data reported in the study show. Plastic consumption in the state has nearly tripled, with New Jerseyans previously consuming 53 million pounds of plastic before the ban, compared to 151 million pounds following the ban, FCR researchers reported.

You know who has benefited the most from the single-use bag ban? Retailers who sell those reusable bags that rarely get reused. They are making bank on the ban.

Reusable bags have also resulted in windfall profits for retailers since the ban took effect, with the researchers finding the average retailer could make $200,000 annually at a single location.

Why am I so cynical about the people who push these bans? After all, they could be too stupid or thoughtless to have realized that they would be harming Mother Earth, right?

Yeah, well, that is true of their donors and supporters, but it is unlikely to be true of people who have been around these sorts of fights for a year or two. The nonprofits have access to research, and many have direct experience in these matters. It’s like thinking that advocates of green energy projects don’t know the problems and anticipate that the promises of benefits are illusions.

They know. Many are veterans of prior battles and simply practiced liars, just like the people pushing rail transit and high-speed rail. They know exactly what they are doing and what will happen. But they profit off the failures, so they do it.

However cynical you are, chances are that you are far too naive. I still get surprised at how awful these people are, and I know many of them.

Source link