Leading Independent Market Research Firm Warns of Significant Bag Shortage for New York

Freedonia Group Report Outlines Major Supply/Demand Problems Facing the Empire State Post-March 1st

February 4, 2020 – A paper bag shortage is certain to occur in New York “even in the most optimistic of scenarios” once a statewide plastic bag ban is implemented, according to the findings of a report conducted by a leading international business research firm.

Freedonia Custom Research, an independent company with expertise in the retail bag market, conducted a study of the retail bag landscape in New York if the proposed ban goes into effect in its current format as scheduled on March 1.

In its report, Freedonia states:

  • “While there is a high degree of uncertainty about how many consumers will switch to reusable bags (rather than single-use paper) after the ban is implemented, a shortage of paper bags will occur in New York even in the most optimistic scenarios.”
  • “With the exception of a highly unlikely shift to all totes, all other scenarios point to a severe paper bag shortage in the state of New York ranging from 738 million to 3.4 billion.”
  • “In addition, currently the total US market for reusable polypropylene bags (the typical reusable bags) is around 930 million. In some cases, new demand for reusable bags would be nearly one-third of the current total. Increases in reusable bag demand will require significant increases in imports of bags, and questions exist around immediate supply of reusable bags.
  • “It is also important to note that the coronavirus spread has impacted the supply of polypropylene bags from China, with the current delay in shipments possibly lasting for months, which would further increase the already elevated demand for paper bags.”

New York leaders have been repeatedly warned of an impending bag shortage as a result of the overreaching and ill-conceived plastic bag ban but refused to heed these concerns. The Freedonia report was commissioned to demonstrate that the shortage threat is not only real, but also could be significantly more widespread and last longer than originally thought.

In response to the report, which can be accessed in full here, American Recyclable Plastic Bag Alliance Executive Director Matt Seaholm said:

“There have been warning signs for months telling New York’s leaders that many shoppers will have no bags to carry their groceries home once this proposed ban goes into effect. This independent report confirms those warnings. There is a roadmap to compromise and success in banning single-use plastic bags laid out in front of the leaders in Albany. It is certainly not their current route. I hope they follow the right road, otherwise there will be nothing but potholes ahead for shoppers and retailers.”

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