Chicago To Join Growing List Of “No Plastic Shopping Bag” Cities

Grocery shoppers of Chicago should start getting used to the notion of bringing their own, reusable bags to the supermarket and other stores; the city’s aldermen passed a resolution earlier today that will ban plastic shopping bags in many stores by Aug. 2015, and almost all stores one year after that.

As in other cities where plastic shopping bags have been banned or heavily regulated, supporters of the Chicago action point to stray bags that fill the city’s gutters and trees, raising both concerns about environmental and aesthetic impact.

“We’re not Neanderthals, we can do better and we should,” explained one alderman to the Chicago Tribune.

The ban would be rolled out in two parts. First, starting in Aug. 2015, retailers with stores larger than 10,000 square feet or chain businesses with at least three outlets operated by the same owner will not be allowed to offer plastic shopping bags to customers. Smaller businesses will have an additional year to ditch the controversial bags.

Since some Chicago neighborhoods are desperately lacking in proper grocery stores, some aldermen raised concerns that a shopping bag ban will harm the city’s efforts to attract supermarkets to these food desserts.

Additionally, stores situated on the city’s edge are worried about losing shoppers to businesses across the city line that will still offer the bags. Some alderman believe that stores could move out of the city rather than face the hassle of only offering paper bags, which are not without their own problems.

A local merchants association had proposed instituting a small per-bag fee as a way of encouraging shoppers to use their own bags, but ultimately the city council went with the ban plan, which has the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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  1. SirJanes says:

    I’m really out of touch. On many things, not just plastic bags, I don’t like bans. I prefer fees.

    People really get excited and want to ban things.

  2. DaveP says:

    I am perfectly fine with this as I despise plastic bags. Not so much for environmental reasons, I just feel paper bags do a better job at being bags. I wish they would implement this in the Greater Cleveland area.

  3. MathManv2point0 says:

    When traveling outside the US most places I have come across offer no bags without a fee. Or, these places offer no bags, period, so you buy only what you can carry in hand or bring your own bags.

    Also, I remember time when supermarkets in the US were making an effort to sell cloth bags with their logo on it for a dollar but that was several years ago. I don’t seem to see that much any more…

  4. Xenotaku says:

    “these food desserts”
    Mmmm, desserts…

    While I theoretically don’t have a problem with plastic bag bans, it depends on the implementations. The town I live in has had a ban for a while, and your options are to bring your own bag, or use a paper bag. No problem.

    However, down in Seattle, which put one in a few years ago, your options are to bring your own bag, or to PAY for a paper bag. From what I understand, the city will actually fine workers and stores that do not charge for the bags. And it’s not even standardized for bags. Some places will give you a small, flimsy bag for free, but a more sturdy/larger one costs. And costs could be as little as $0.05 (at City Target), to over $0.25.

  5. CzarChasm says:

    “We’re not Neanderthals, we can do better and we should,”

    With Chicago averaging nearly a murder per day in the beginning of 2014, clearly, proving you are not a Neanderthal should be a top priority.

    Because Neanderthals don’t murder people, they use plastic bags.