Letter to the Editor: Why New Milford Should Skip The Paper Bag Fee
New Milford’s consideration of a new fee for paper bags in local stores (“New Milford looking at ban on single-use plastic bags,” July 22, 2019) would undermine a recyclable, compostable, and reusable bag option while imposing a tax on Bergen County consumers.
Taxes on paper bags like the one being considered by the Borough Council unfairly target paper products, implying they are part of the environmental problem rather than recognizing them as part of the solution.
Not only are paper bags made from recycled paper, they are highly recycled themselves and are a fixture in community recycling programs throughout New Jersey and the rest of the country. Paper bags can also be reused many times and, ultimately, are biodegradable.
Paper bags are made from a renewable resource – trees that are replanted to ensure a sustainable supply – and by sustainable manufacturing processes powered in large part with renewable carbon-neutral biomass.
Many retailers already offer paper bags free of charge at the point of purchase, giving consumers a free and environmentally responsible bag option. If New Milford taxes paper bags, it will decrease consumer use of this recyclable, biodegradable, and reusable option. And like any other tax, fees for bags will likely increase over time.
Consumers who are sensitive to environmental concerns are choosing paper bags and many retailers responding to consumer demands have already voluntarily transitioned to paper. The Borough Council should recognize these responsible consumer choices rather than undermining them with a misdirected tax on the use of paper bags.
Manager, Government Affairs
American Forest & Paper Association