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New Jersey banned supermarkets from providing plastic and paper bags — now people are apparently taking shopping baskets from stores

New Jersey’s ban blocking various stores from providing customers with plastic bags is apparently causing a problem as some grocery stores experience the theft of plastic shopping baskets.

“They are just disappearing,” noted Louis Scaduto Jr. of Food Circus Super Markets, which owns several Super Foodtown stores in Monmouth County, according to Asbury Park Press. “I may actually have to just do away with them soon, can’t afford to keep replacing them,” he communicated via text message, according to the outlet. Scaduto’s LinkedIn profile indicates that he is the “President / CEO / Co Owner of Food Circus Supermarkets, Inc.”

Asbury Park Press reported that Stop & Shop noted in a statement, “Like other retailers across the state, we have experienced theft of our handheld shopping baskets — an unintended consequence of the ban on plastic and paper bags.”

The ban took effect earlier this year on May 4, according to business.nj.gov. “New Jersey retail stores, grocery stores and food service businesses may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products,” the website states.

The state not only banned grocery stores from providing customers with plastic bags, it also banned large supermarkets from offering paper bags. “Single-use paper carryout bags are allowed to be provided or sold, except by grocery stores equal to or larger than 2,500 square feet, which may only provide or sell reusable carryout bags,” the New Jersey website notes.

“We are aware of random reports that grocers are experiencing the loss of these hand baskets to varying degree,” president and CEO of the New Jersey Food Council Linda Doherty noted in a statement, according to the outlet. “We view this as a short unintended consequence of the new state law.”

“Some stores are also posting signs to remind customers to keep handbaskets in the store and using in store public address systems with similar messaging,” Doherty noted. “We think in most cases people simply forgot to bring them back.”