Chicago, Illinois, April 30, 2014 (PBBR) - The City Council of the City of Chicago today voted to adopt a ban on plastic shopping bags. The ban will go into effect in August, 2015.
The plastic bag prohibition affects all large stores in the city. Large stores means any store over 10,000 square feet.
During the Council meeting, several Council members spoke about the proposal.
Alderman James Cappelman, Ward 46, said because of this ordinance, he would continue to push very hard to create more incentives for recycling.
Alderman Leslie Hairston, Ward 5, voted against the measure because she felt that this ordinance would impair the ability of her ward to attract quality grocery stores.
Ward 36 Alderman Nicholas Sposato felt that the ban would cost jobs. Maybe not retail jobs - but manufacturing jobs. He said he had spoken with a plastic bag manufacturer in Chicago and the firm expects to lay off employees because of the ban. His speech to the Council sounded like a script written from the website of a plastic bag manufacturing association. He was against the ordinance.
Alderman Arena, Ward 45, stated that 3 billion plastic bags per year are used in the city of Chicago. "We need to change our behavior as responsible citizens. The recycling effort is another red herring, it's not a solution. What we need to do is reduce our consumption", stated Arena.
Alderman Joe Moreno, sponsor of the proposed ordinance, named several businesses that already do not use plastic bags, but yet, are very successful businesses. On the city's recycling program, he said that less than 10% of plastic bags are returned to be recycled and that only 10% of those that are returned are actually recycled.
At the end of the discussion, a voice vote was taken and the proposed plastic bag ban was passed into law by a vote of 36-10.
Chicago, the U.S.'s third largest city, joins other large cities across America who have plastic bag regulations, including Los Angeles which is the second largest city in the U.S. and has the 3rd largest economy in the world.
Cover photo: Chicago Lighthouse, Chicago, Illinois. Author: Richard C. Drew. Licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)