As you’ve probably heard, New Jersey recently enacted the nation’s strictest bag ban. This means that beginning in May 2022, plastic bags will no longer be available through grocery, retail, and restaurants. With a few exemptions, paper bags will also be banned in supermarkets over 2,500 square feet.
But, why wait? You can start preparing for this change now. Here’s our advice:
- Use what you have. If you’ve already got a closet full of bags, try them out. That may be all you need.
- Think inside the box. Consider reusing cardboard boxes or a crate to carry your groceries.
- Pick a durable bag. If you are in the market for a new reusable bag, keep in mind that they typically need to be used hundreds or thousands of times to offset the carbon footprint from their manufacture.
- Find a bag you love. There are many different styles out there, so be sure to prioritize a bag you’ll be proud to carry with you.
- Consider your lifestyle. Need one that fits in a pocket or in your trunk? Lugging your groceries home by foot or loading them into your car? Pick a bag that will serve your needs.
- Go recycled. Bags made from recycled plastic typically have a low carbon footprint; however, pollution is still a concern with any plastic product.
- Understand cotton. Canvas is a delightful natural product, but since cotton has a high carbon footprint, look for bags made from recycled material (eg, old jeans).
- Bring it with you. While this might seem obvious, for many of us, it’s not easy. Be sure to try out different strategies until you find a habit that sticks.
If after all of this you still want help finding a new reusable shopping bag, check out the product lists offered in any of these articles:
- 15 of the Best Reusable Bags to Hold All of Your Produce, Meat, and Other Groceries, Good Housekeeping
- The 8 Best Eco-Friendly Reusable Grocery Bags of 2021, Tree Hugger
- The 9 Best Reusable Grocery Bags of 2021, The Spruce
- The Seven Best Reusable Shopping Bags, According to Wirecutter Staff, NY Times
Thanks for reading and doing your part to reduce single-use plastics!