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Friday, May 2, 2014

Chicago Council Adopts Plastic Bag Ban

On April 30, 2014, the Chicago City Council approved an ordinance banning the use of plastic bags to carry goods away from certain types of stores.  The ban applies to retail establishments in the City “that sell perishable or non-perishable goods, including, but not limited to, clothing, food and personal items, directly to the customer.”  The ban does not apply to restaurants and non-chain store organizations.  Franchises and organizations of three or more stores are considered chain stores.

The ordinance also requires that all covered stores that provide bags also sell or give customers reusable bags, recyclable paper bags, or commercially compostable plastic bags. Stores larger than 10,000 square feet have to comply with the ban by August 1, 2015.  Smaller stores have one year longer to comply with the requirements.  Retailers could be fined $300 to $500 for each violation of the ban.

The store exemptions and staggered deadlines were presented in a meeting of the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection as a compromise for opponents of a plastic bag ban. The ordinance passed the City Council with a vote of 36-10. However, some aldermen and the Illinois Retail Merchants Association expressed concerns with the potential impact increased costs associated with paper bags may have on the ability to attract grocery stores, maintain jobs, and prevent price increases.

You can read the ordinance here.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf and Caitlyn Sharrow, Ancel Glink


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