Is New York State really facing a paper bag shortage? No.
Like all new legislation, the NYS Plastic Bag Ban is facing a wide range of preemptive backlash. Many news outlets are reporting that stores in New York State will be out of paper bags due to a nationwide paper bag shortage. This simply is not true.
The information in the widely shared New York Post article is heavily reliant on misinterpreted data and quotes from business owners and suppliers looking to close the gap between needing to be compliant and driving demand.
Suppliers across the United States, as well as many overseas, have continued to report that there is no expected shortage. In fact, many American paper bag suppliers who offer both branded and non-branded options, have stock in the tens and hundreds of thousands.
The reality of the situation is that many small business owners, and even some larger chains, have been spending their time fighting the upcoming March 1st, 2020 plastic bag ban in New York State, while dragging their feet when it comes to being compliant.
The projected shortage is reliant on data and information related to the annual usage of bags statewide. It is unlikely that the state will consume paper at the same rate as plastic bags, with many consumers being actively conditioned to bring their own bags, as well as smaller impact points like less double bagging at the checkout lane, and incentives for reusables.
Consumers will face the choice between no paper bag and having to bring their own bags if retail managers continue to hold off on placing orders.
We've spoken to over 25 paper bag suppliers in the domestic United States, a handful of which are located right here in New York State, and they continue to confirm that they have available stock, but are not hearing from local businesses.
Before we start pounding the drum that the NYS Plastic Bag Ban is going fail and ultimately succumb to a paper bag shortage, we should consider that business owners still have time to become compliant with the new legislation and should be making an effort to do so.