Chicago Joins List of Bag Ban Cities

At the end of April, Chicago became the latest city to approve a plastic bag ban, with an overwhelming majority vote of 36 to 10. They are joining many cities across the nation that have bag bans in place, including cities in Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Rhode Island, Washington, Hawaii and the District of Columbia.

This partial ban, which will go into effect in August of 2015, will make it illegal for stores that are 10,000 feet or larger to offer plastic bags to customers. In August of 2016, smaller stores will be added to that list. Small independent stores and restaurants will not be affected by the ban. Those in direct violation of the legislation will receive a fine, ranging from $300 to $500 with each infraction.

Some legislators opposed the ban for economic reasons. They were afraid with a ban in place it would be harder to attract new grocery stores to their areas, and that it would increase prices in retail locations that are already in place.

Those against the ban said that since paper bags cost three times as much as plastic bags, retailers would wind up raising prices, cutting workers hours or hiring less workers in order to offset the additional cost of paper bags. The stores are able to impose fees on paper bags if they choose to do so.  Many people aren’t even considering the reusable shopping bag option that many customer will favor rather than paying fees for wasteful bags.

Most officials stand firm in the belief that this ban is the best thing for both the economy and the environment. Single-use plastic bags have many environmental strikes against them. The bags add to our demand for oil, aren’t easy to recycle, litter the landscape, harm marine and  land-dwelling wildlife, clog drainage, plus the inks and colorants used on some bags contain toxins.

Does your city have a plastic bag ban? If not, consider banning single-use plastic bags from your life. Learn more about the benefits of reusable shopping bags at our website.

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