Plastic shopping bagThe idea that taxing or banning single-use plastic bags in New Jersey will protect our environment simply does not stand up to the facts  but would have a very real impact on the state’s economy, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association said today.

Instead, bolstering the state’s recycling programs would be far more effective in reducing pollution from plastic bags and protect jobs and the economy at the same time.

The Senate Environment and Energy Committee and the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee took testimony on plastic bag pollution today in Toms River. The Legislature has already passed a bill to impose a 5-cent tax on single-use bags that Gov. Phil Murphy has reportedly said he would veto, but some are calling for an outright ban on plastic bags.

Testifying before a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly environment committees in Toms River, NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas said the problems with plastics reach well beyond New Jersey and even the United States.

New Jersey’s plastics industry is the 17th largest in the country and directly represents more than 18,000 workers in the state.

“While every nation must do its fair share in cleaning up this worldwide problem, we cannot expect the good people of our state to shoulder a disproportionate amount of the fiscal responsibility for the world’s bad actors,” Buteas said.

“To date, the state has not released any kind of analysis studying the impact of plastics as it relates to litter or other environmental concerns. We want to be sure that any measure impacting so many jobs will actually have the desired effect.”

She also said there is considerable room for improvement of New Jersey’s recycling efforts of all plastics by way of public education to reduce the amount of plastics from our state that ends up in landfills.  Increased investment in reuse and in recycling infrastructure could achieve the same environmental goals as other measures without unnecessarily harming the industry and its employees.

“Any State policy change on plastics should be phased in and should not be done in a piecemeal approach – municipality by municipality,” she said. “NJBIA believes we need a statewide policy that addresses these issues in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner, one that recognizes the need and desire for a clean environment and a healthy, growing economy.”

“NJBIA and our members share in society’s responsibilities to manage waste products and its impact on the health of our environment,” Buteas said. “At the same time, we know that we must advocate for those policies that will sustain and grow our economy.”

For a link to Buteas’ full testimony, visit here.


17 responses to “NJBIA: Banning Plastic Bags Is Bad for Jobs, Does Not Help Environment”

  1. Lisa Hamilton says:

    You must be kidding. So you want to “keep” jobs based upon false logic that banning plastic bags would take away jobs? Plastic bags create problems for recyclers. They get tangled in the equipment and cause work stoppage, increase repair costs, etc. to the industry. They litter our roadways and waterways. If you are so concerned about jobs, have the manufacturers come up with a biodegradable, recyclable “bag” or container better reusable bags that is not harmful to the environment and have them make that item. Also, unfortunately, this small cost for a plastic bag is not enough of a deterrent. Just another thing to add cost to a product that does not make sense. If you ban the bag, it changes behavior since customers will be forced to use other reusable bags. It has been done in other counties for years and has worked very well. We can no longer be short-sited when it comes to millions of bags ending up in the landfill.

    • Emily says:

      Don’t even waste your time on these uneducated selfish people. They are well aware that plastics are terrible… just too selfish to say anything about it.

      • morro barry says:

        Bro if you ban something then everyone that made money by making it will not be able to make it anymore and lose there job. plastic alternatives are more expensive that means people in poverty may struggle to pay for them.
        some people also realize that it is not plastic that are the problem but the way developing countries dispose of them and also developed countries a little bit but 95 percent of plastic that enters the ocean from rivers is from ten countries 8 in asia and 2 in africa. on that list usa was 20th and is the first western country.

  2. CRDees says:

    In NJ it is, and always has been, about money. The ocean is polluted, the rivers are polluted and the state House is polluted !

    • morro barry says:

      some people also realize that it is not plastic that are the problem but the way developing countries dispose of them and also developed countries a little bit but 95 percent of plastic that enters the ocean from rivers is from ten countries 8 in asia and 2 in africa. on that list usa was 20th and is the first western country.

  3. Paul Diveny says:

    You are so transparently wrong on this subject as to be laughable. All the scientific evidence suggests that plastic bags are a total environmental disaster. Given the fact that there are more environmentally friendly alternatives, why aren’t you encouraging job creation in those sectors? Seems like a no-brainer to me, if you really are interested in promoting jobs in NJ.

  4. Trish White says:

    I agree with Lisa. The environment must take priority over the jobs that people have as a result of not expanding their education or experience toward the future. Jobs go away as we progress toward the future. Everyone needs to be mindful of their career path and continue to get education and experience to have meaningful positions going forward.

  5. David J Haas says:

    I completely disagree with NJBIA’s position on this, although I also disagree with banning the bags completely. There is a specific cost to using a plastic bag and throwing it away. There should be an explicit fee (and I would like to see it at $0.25, not $0.05). There is no connection between jobs and plastic bags. More people will use reusable bags and those will be in greater demand.

    There are times when it may be inconvenient to have a reusable bag and in that case, the consumer can pay the fee. Simple.

    As for bag recycling, China has stopped taking our recyclables. Are the disposable bags really recyclable? I suspect that there is no market for used plastic bags and most of them actually placed in recycling containers end up in a landfill somewhere (at best) or dumped illegally in a third-world country.

    By the way, I almost always take reusable bags with me to the supermarket and drugstore. So I am practicing what I preach.

  6. JJ says:

    Let’s save jobs at the cost of the environment! Let’s not create jobs through the production of more environmentally-friendly products or ! Is that really the stance that you want to push??

    Would you also prefer continued usage of plastic bottles over reusable water bottles? I’m sure you wouldn’t want to cut jobs by eventually banning production of balloons either, right? Would that be too emotionally detrimental to kids celebrating their birthdays?

    The fact is, these single-use products are consistently ending up in our streams, rivers, and oceans. I can’t remember a day at the beach recently where I didn’t pick up a plastic bag, bottle, or balloon. In a country where cashiers can’t comprehend the idea of not putting your purchase in a plastic bag (“Are you sure you don’t want a bag??”), there clearly needs to be a mentality shift.

    This article makes it apparent that people are still unaware of the negative impact these types of plastics having on the environment.

  7. Frank LaSaracina says:

    The State should present the data upon which the legislation is based. Then the decision should be self-evident.

  8. Dave says:

    These items are ending up in the ocean and woods because of irresponsibility. If people throw glass bottles in the river, it’s still litter. So now we have to pay 5c for others irresponsibility. Lets go back to paper bags then. Probably more expensive and why one hardly sees them at grocery stores. Next thing you know, reusable bags will be spreading germs/diseases, but that is ok I guess.

  9. Nancy S says:

    NJ needs to excel in something other than tomatoes. Somebody please grow a set and do the right thing. Jobs can be created in green energy and cleaning up the mess we have made!

  10. Tejraj Warhade says:

    Banning plastic bags will open the market for Bio degradable stuffs creating various alternative to plastic thereby creating more and more employment than plastic industry. Let this creative human find the ways to live in better environment and please support Plastic Ban.

  11. albayed says:

    we need to keep plastic bags not want to

  12. Jesica says:

    I 100% agree. As a part of Generation Z, this article really has me worried for my future kids 🙁