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State of Illinois Outlaws Plastic Bag Bans

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Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act Becomes Law | Plastic Bag Ban Report
Illinois, USA, June 7, 2012 (PBBR) – On June 1st, the Illinois General Assembly passed into law the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act, SB 3442.

Introduced by Sen. Terry Link, the bill created producer responsibility, mandating that plastic bag manufacturers would be responsible for the recovery and recycling of their product. However, as the bill made its way through the Senate and then the House, amendments were added.

Now passed, the law prohibits any Illinois city with a population under two million from adopting plastic bag regulations of any kind, including plastic bag bans or fees. Chicago is the only city in Illinois with a population over two million.

The Amendments
As I did my research on this bill for the first report, I soon learned that the plastic bag manufacturers were supporting this bill. I had to wonder why?

Then I learned why. While the bill was in the Senate, the Senate added an amendment to the bill. The Amendment stated, “. . . Limits home rule powers further in home rule units with 2,000,000 or fewer inhabitants by (i) making any effort to regulate the collection and recycling of plastic carryout bags through the imposition of a ban on those items an exclusive power and function of the State and (ii) prohibiting the imposition by those home rule units of a tax on the collection and recycling of plastic carryout bags and film.”

And, the House Amendment states, ” . . . Further limits home rule powers. Authorizes a home rule municipality that had a plastic bag and film take-back ordinance in effect on January 1, 2012 to continue the program created by that ordinance, as in effect on that date.” In my research, I found only one municipality with a similar ordinance as of Janaury 1, 2012.

Lake County, Illinois enacted the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act in 2007 and it became law in 2008. Lake County is home to Terry Link who introduced and sponsored the state bill, SB 3442.

Plastics Industry Support of SB 3442
Following are press releases from the plastics industry and plastic bag manufacturers before the law was passed.

Statement From American Progressive Bag Alliance Regarding Plastic Bag And Film Recycling Act
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The Illinois General Assembly’s Environmental Health Committee is today hearing testimony regarding the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act (S.B. 3442). Phil Rozenski of Hilex Poly, the largest plastic bag manufacturer and recycler in the United States, is testifying before the committee.

Mark Daniels, Chair of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, issued the following statement regarding the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act:

“The Illinois State Legislature is taking the right approach toward recycling of plastic bags, sacks and wraps by prioritizing recycling through the Plastic and Bag Film Recycling Act. More than 30,000 Americans depend on the plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry to support their families – 3,000 in Illinois alone – and this legislation will foster greater recycling efforts, resulting in new green jobs in what has been a difficult economy. The Plastic Bag Film and Recycling Act forms a uniform policy on plastic bag recycling, so that a patchwork of local laws do not hamper consumer choice and economic competition in the state.”

About the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA)
The APBA represents American plastic bag manufacturers and recyclers, an industry which employs more than 30,000 American workers. Plastic bags are 100 percent recyclable and nine out of ten consumers reuse plastic bags for every day household chores. Meanwhile, reusable bags, mostly imported and made from foreign oil, cannot be recycled.
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American Progressive Bag Alliance Urges Illinois General Assembly To Pass Statewide Recycling Bill
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Encouraged by the Illinois General Assembly’s Environmental Health Committee’s overwhelming vote last week to advance the Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Act (S.B. 3442), which would increase recycling rates of plastic bags, sacks and wraps; preserve jobs; and create a uniform recycling law for Illinois, the American Progressive Bag Alliance today urged the full house to pass the bill in an open letter to all legislators.

APBA, which represents those Americans in plastic bag manufacturing and recycling, stressed the opportunity the common-sense approach that plastic bag and wrap recycling provides for Illinois consumers and the environment without adding costs to consumers, small businesses or supermarkets. Instead, businesses will benefit from being able to sell used plastic bags, sacks and wraps to recyclers so that they can be turned into new products – like backyard decking, plumbing pipes, playground equipment, and even new plastic bags.

S.B. 3442 provides an easier means for more consumers to recycle their used plastic bags, sacks and wraps by requiring bag manufacturers to supply more recycling bin locations and setting minimum recycling rate requirements. By setting a statewide standard for recycling, Illinois will avoid having a patchwork of local laws that burden consumers and businesses. This bill is awaiting a vote by the General Assembly’s full chamber.

The full text of the letter from David Asselin, Executive Director of the American Progressive Bag Alliance, is below.

May 1, 2012

Dear Representatives of the General Assembly:

Illinois is on the verge of making national history in environmental legislation. All the General Assembly needs to do is pass the Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Act (S.B. 3442). Illinois should be proud to be the first state to embrace a statewide solution that works and creates jobs – plastic bag and film recycling.

Plastic bags are 100% recyclable and are re-used by nine out of ten Americans. They are made primarily from clean natural gas, and plastic bag manufacturing and recycling supports more than 30,000 manufacturing jobs across the nation – with 3,000 workers in Illinois alone.

Nationally, plastic bag, sack and wrap recycling has risen 24% over the past year – and this legislation will bring more jobs in plastic bag recycling to the state, bringing manufacturing jobs back home.

The added benefit of this bill is that it comes at no cost to consumers, small businesses or supermarkets. In reality, businesses will make money by selling used plastic bags, sacks and wraps to recyclers so that they can be turned into new items that we use every day – like backyard decking, plumbing pipes, playground equipment, new plastic bags and a whole host of other products. All consumers have to do is bring their bags back to their local stores and place them in the recycling bins.

Furthermore, manufacturing bags with higher levels of recycled content not only draws on fewer natural resources, it is also more cost effective. This means bags with recycled content will not cost store owners and retail outlets more than bags with lower levels of recycled content.

The American Progressive Bag Alliance is proud to join Illinois in this recycling effort, and we hope this legislation becomes a model bill for legislatures across the nation. We look forward, with your support, to bringing even more recycling jobs to the State of Illinois, and urge you to pass the Plastic Bag & Film Recycling Act.

Sincerely,

David Asselin
Executive Director
American Progressive Bag Alliance
Representing more than 30,000 American workers in plastic bag manufacturing and recycling

About the American Progressive Bag Alliance (APBA)
The American Progressive Bag Alliance was founded in 2005 to represent the United States’ plastic bag manufacturing and sector, employing 30,800 workers in 349 communities across the nation all using clean, natural gas. APBA promotes the responsible use, reuse, recycling and disposal of plastic bags and advocates for American-made plastic products as the best environmental choice at check out—for both retailers and consumers.
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Now, here is the “nail in the coffin” news release from the Flexible Packaging Association:

INFORMATIONAL BRIEF
May 14, 2012
For more information, contact:
Marla Donahue, President
Ram Singhal, Vice President, Technology & Environmental Strategy
(410) 694]0800

Illinois Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act
FPA is monitoring proposed Illinois legislation that will ”set forth the procedure by which the collection and recycling of plastic bags and film will be accomplished in Illinois.” The legislation imposes many compliance requirements on plastic carryout bag manufacturers including annual registration with state agency, pay an annual registration fee of $500, develop and maintain agency approved recycling plan (including collection and recycling of their plastic bags), submit report describing the weight of plastic carryout bags and plastic film sold and collected for recycling in the previous calendar year, print the name of the manufacturer on the bag.

While the legislation discusses “plastic film product wrap” which includes “polyethylene wrap uses for used to cover, wrap, or otherwise package consumer goods, such as paper towels, bathroom tissue, cases of sodas, diapers and other dry goods.” The key to the legislative requirements is in the definition in the bill of ”manufacturer.” Only the manufacturers have to meet the requirements and in this bill ”manufacturer means a manufacturer of plastic carryout bags used or distributed in Illinois.” Therefore the manufacturers of plastic film product wrap do not have to meet any of the requirements. FPA confirmed this statement with Bill’s sponsor, Rep. Michael Tryon.

The threat of a plastic carryout bag bans is what has driven The American Progressive Bag Alliance (an organization of retail carry bag manufacturers) to support of the legislation. The legislation was first introduced last year in Lake County and made its way to the state legislature. It is not clear whether the bill will pass the Illinois House because a super majority is required for passage, it passed the Illinois Senate by one vote. The legislative session ends at the end of May.

Flexible Packaging Association, 971 Corporate Boulevard, Suite 403, Linthicum, Maryland 21090 ~ Phone: (410) 694-0800

Summary
The Illinois Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act was passed in the House by 72 Yeas and 44 Nays. See how each House member voted. The Senate passed the bill with 38 Yeas and 15 Nays. See how each Senate member voted.

The bill has now been sent to the Governor. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has until August 31st to sign the bill into law or veto the bill.

One Response to State of Illinois Outlaws Plastic Bag Bans

  1. Ben

    2012/06/13 at 12:58 pm

    This has NOT become law yet. Please change it and let me know!
    The governor has 60 days from when they deliver it to his desk to sign it or veto it. If he does nothing, it becomes law.

    This is coming out as a massive Change.org effort, so look out for it.

    Great work on this site. Fantastic resource!