STUDY: New Jersey’s plastic consumption nearly TRIPLED following plastic bag ban
01/30/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

A new study reveals that the use of plastic in New Jersey has increased from 53 million pounds to 151 million pounds since it implemented the plastic bag ban in May 2022.

The study, conducted by market research firm Fredonia Group on Jan. 9, found that the "plastic bag ban" not only failed to curb plastic usage but also backfired four years after its implementation in the state. The research disclosed that plastic consumption at retail checkouts in the Garden State nearly tripled over the years.

New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy and the state's Democrat-controlled legislature proudly enacted a law in 2020 that sought to ban plastic bags at stores.

"Plastic bags are one of the most problematic forms of garbage, leading to millions of discarded bags that stream annually into our landfills, rivers and oceans. With today’s historic bill signing, we are addressing the problem of plastic pollution head-on with solutions that will help mitigate climate change and strengthen our environment for future generations," said the governor at the signing ceremony of the bill in November 2020. (Related: Report reveals recycling plastic releases toxic “chemical cocktail” into the environment.)

However, the study has shed light on the unexpected consequences following the implementation of the bag ban.

The study discovered that consumers rarely reused the required reusable bags that replaced the plastic bags. The study found that most reusable bags in New Jersey are used an average of two to three times, contributing to an overall rise in plastic usage for bags in the state. This trend has led to a paradoxical situation where the increase in plastic usage overshadowed the intended environmental benefits of the bag ban.

Researchers then pointed out that reusable bags are manufactured with 15 to 20 times the amount of plastic used in the now-prohibited single-use plastic bags. The report indicates that for reusable bags to have a net benefit for the environment, they need to be used anywhere from 11 to 59 times. However, this is clearly not the case in New Jersey.

Study proves that "green" and "environmentally friendly" alternatives are worse than plastics

A separate study published in the journal Food Additives and Contaminants supports the claims of the Freedonia Group.

According to Belgian researchers, many of the so-called "green" utensils and environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic, such as paper and bamboo straws, may be worse than their plastic counterparts.

The study analyzed 39 drinking straw brands made from five different materials: paper, bamboo, glass, stainless steel and plastic. Shockingly, paper straws were found to be the worst offenders, with 90 percent containing PFAS. Bamboo straws followed closely, with 80 percent loaded with these harmful chemicals. In comparison, only 75 percent of plastic straws contained PFAS and none of the stainless steel straws had any.

"Straws made from plant-based materials such as paper and bamboo are often advertised as being more sustainable and eco-friendly than those made from plastic. However, the presence of PFAS in these straws means that's not necessarily true," explained Thimo Groffen, PhD, an environmental scientist at the University of Antwerp and one of the authors of the study.

PFAS, or poly- and perfluoroalkyl-based substances, are known as "forever chemicals" due to their persistence in the environment. The study reveals that plant-based alternatives contain more PFAS than plastic, raising concerns about their impact on both the environment and human health.

Perfluorooctanoic acid, a kind of PFAS banned since 2020, was the most prominent in paper, bamboo and plastic straws. Trifluoroacetic acid and trifluoromethanesulfonic acid, PFAS that easily dissolve in water, were also detected, raising concerns about potential leaching into beverages.

So, Groffen warned: "The presence of PFAS in paper and bamboo straws shows they are not necessarily biodegradable," dispelling the common misconception that these items are "100 percent recyclable."

Read more articles about the dangers of plastic pollution at

Watch the video below to know more about how plastic pollution is filling the world with plastic.

This video is from the Smile For Science channel on

More related stories:

Sharks are behaving strangely and plastic pollution could be to blame.

Every stage of plastic production and use is harming human health: report.

More than 13 tons of boneless chicken bites RECALLED due to plastic contamination.

Paper straws and other “green” solutions are MORE TOXIC than plastic, study finds.

Study links tiny pieces of plastic in the environment to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

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