Landslide: Chicago City Council Bans Plastic Bags in 36-10 Vote

April 18, 2014
Though the debate in Chicago’s City Council was vigorous, aldermen voted 36-10 to ban plastic bags on April 30. The biggest city in the Midwest will ban plastic bags entirely in chain stores beginning in 2015. Smaller retailers are exempt from the legislation until 2016. Rather than settling for a fee or discount when shoppers didn’t bring bags to the store, the Council’s decision means reusable wholesale grocery bags will be the norm in the Windy City. The legislation, sponsored by Alderman Joe Moreno, allows the third largest city in the United States to follow Los Angeles, San Francisco and over 100 other cities in dealing with plastic bag waste. City officials cited the problems with pollution and environmental damage plastic bags have caused in Chicago for decades. Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the ban, saying, “it puts the city on the right path” with its environmental policy. Complaints about the environmental damage caused by plastic bags had built up for years in Chicago. Apart from the sight of bags blowing down streets and clogging drains, recycling facilities struggle to process plastic bags, which often get stuck in sorting machines and force expensive repairs. Compared with the alternative – making reusable wholesale grocery bags the norm – it’s easy to see why the Chicago City Council voted to ban plastic bags in a landslide. San Francisco officials have remarked how easy it was to ban plastic bags in their city in 2007. Store owners cut their bag costs and began stocking reusable wholesale grocery bags so customers have an option when they forget a bag. After a short while, shoppers began carrying the reusable shopping bags with them on the way to work. Keeping a few in the trunk or using bags that can fit into other bags as it becomes a habit. The result is a cleaner city, healthier waterways and lower costs for the municipality in dealing with litter. With Los Angeles and Chicago now on the books with plastic bag bans, it’s time to look to New York, the biggest city in the U.S. Why is plastic bag legislation in New York’s City Council stalling once again? Any community that wants to make a positive impact on the environment doesn’t have to wait. Reusable shopping bags allow you to start going green today. For more information or for a quote please visit or contact us at 800.255.0885.