NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — A majority of New Jersyans know the single-use plastic ban will go into effect next month, but few were also aware of the ban on paper, according to a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday.
Seventy percent of Garden State residents were cognizant of the upcoming change at their local supermarkets starting May 4, but only 28 percent of the public knew they wouldn’t be able to use paper bags for their groceries, said the poll.
“A lot of people who think that they will simply bag their groceries in paper instead of plastic at the checkout next month are in for a surprise,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, in a press release.
But Jersey shoppers support the ban and seem to be unfazed about the inconvenience. Among current plastic and paper bag users, the poll says, just over half say adapting to bringing their own bags will be either easy or somewhat easy.
“Most New Jerseyans support efforts to reduce plastic use, the question is how happy they will be with the change once it goes into effect,” Murray said.
More than 60 percent are in favor of the single-use ban, however, more than 40 percent feel stores should continue to give out the single-use plastic bags for free.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said stores can only provide or sell reusable bags, which are made of a washable material and have handles.
The poll shows 38 percent say they already bring their own bags when shopping for groceries.
However, officials said Jerseyans at the lower end of the income scale- those making less than $50,000 annually- would likely be adversely impacted by the ban. They cite transportation as among the challenges. Even though a majority of them agree with the plastic ban, more than 50 percent of this group would prefer that stores still be able to give them out for free, according to the poll.
“The upcoming ban is likely to produce the most confusion and problems for those on very tight incomes, especially for those with limited transportation options,” said Murray.