Author of plastic bag ban bill says it needs to be amended to address home delivery issues

The Democratic state legislator behind New Jersey’s plastic bag ban says the law needs to be changed after people were inundated with reusable bags from door-to-door delivery.

It’s been nearly five months since the ban went into effect, and it still receives mixed reviews from the public. Some say they have no problem bringing their own reusable bags. But others say it has become a burden.

It is considered the country’s strictest ban on paper and plastic products. But State Sen. Bob Smith says it needs to be changed.

“We were 95% successful,” Smith says.

Smith is the chairman of the state Senate environment committee and spent six years as mayor of Piscataway.

“The only big problem, which is still a small problem compared to all the materials that are in the environment, is this delivery problem. And we will solve it. We will solve it by the end of the year,” Smith says.

People who had groceries delivered to their homes say they now have a stock of reusable bags, which are piling up.

Smith says he will address this issue. A possible solution is to allow home delivery to use paper bags or cardboard boxes again. But he says paper bags will no longer appear in grocery stores.

“The energy used to produce them is enormous,” Smith says. “If you’re going to make something that big, don’t make it small. The paper bags that came out of supermarkets were a big source of waste.

And Smith has a message for those who are annoyed with having to bring their own bags.

“Change is difficult. Very well? Go to the hospital, take a blood test. If you have any problems with this bill, go to the hospital to have your blood tested. Have them test for microplastics in your blood. You won’t have a problem after that,” he says.

A hearing on changing the bag ban will be held in Trenton on October 6.

Lola R. McClure