The Chicago City Council has voted 36-10 to ban plastic bags in most stores next year.
The ban, which has the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, goes into effect for Chicago’s large retailers in August 2015 and one year later for shops smaller than 10,000 square feet. Family-owned stores and restaurants will not be affected.
All major stores will have to provide or sell reusable bags, recyclable paper bags or compostable plastic bags and have the option of charging for the disposable bags.
Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno has spent more than two years spearheading the anti-bag effort in Chicago and has called single-use plastic bags “a relic of yesterday’s economy,” insisting that no jobs or business will be lost because of the ban
The American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA) disagrees, pointing out that the U.S. plastic bag manufacturing and recycling business employs 30,800 across the country, including 3,000 in Illinois.
When a committee gave the initial go-ahead for the ban last week, APBA Chairman Lee Califf said stepping up recycling programs would be better than a ban for the city, businesses and consumers.
“The decision to bring a proposed plastic bag ban to a full council vote is a bad move for Chicago, placing undue burden on big box retailers and grocers and the families that shop in these stores,” Califf said. “Comprehensive plastic bag recycling education would better benefit Chicago and preserve consumer choice. We will continue to join forces with affected retailers, Chicago residents and those whose jobs are on the line, to convince the City Council that this policy is counterproductive to Chicago’s future.”