EDITORIAL — Kearny Council blunders by banning plastic bags

We understand the need for environmental responsibility. In fact, this newspaper encourages it whenever possible.

However, in the case of the ordinance that was adopted last week that essentially ends the use of plastic shopping bags, we believe the Kearny Town Council made a huge mistake, one that will have long-lasting repercussions.

A program to ban plastic bags would be better suited were it a statewide initiative. If every business were required to not use plastic bags, we could accept the consequences. However, in a town where businesses often struggle to operate on a daily basis, this ban is punitive and irresponsible.

Here’s why.

Kearny is bordered by towns that do not ban the use of plastic bags. As such, this is going to hurt Kearny businesses. Why would a consumer who is struggling to make ends meet shop in Kearny when they’d be required to purchase reusable bags?

The simple reality is they’ll have a much easier option heading to supermarkets in North Arlington, Harrison, Belleville, Lyndhurst, or elsewhere.

When it’s often difficult enough for many to live paycheck to paycheck, purchasing bags to simply bring things home is not reasonable. In the same regard, it is wholly unfair to expect people who don’t drive when shopping to haul a load of bags home that do not have handles.

If this isn’t a slap in the face to the working poor of our town, not much else is.

And so while we understand the environmental need for plastic bags to be discouraged, we simply don’t understand the rush to get this ban adopted as law — and we do not understand why the council didn’t better consider the negative effects it will have on business owners and the general public.

Passing this ordinance was a monumental mistake. And we can only hope to be wrong about what it will do to business owners. Come April 2021, we’re sure to find out.

Learn more about the writer ...

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.