Bag to Differ

In August of 2015 Chicago implemented a ban on plastic bags. The purpose of the ban is to cut down on negative impacts of pollution by improper disposable of plastic bags. Therefore, large retail chains and franchise stores aren’t allowed to distribute plastic bags. According to Phil Rozenski (2015), senior director of sustainability for plastic and paper packaging manufacturer Novolex, said about 100 billion plastic bags are consumed in the U.S. annually, and 12 percent are recycled.” Therefore, providing evidence of the improper disposal of plastic bags

The plastic bag ban has a few flaws. According to Tanya Triche (2016), vice president and general counsel of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said that — while some shoppers and retailers have embraced the cause — overall, the ordinance has done little but increase retailers’ costs as they replaced thin plastic bags with pricier, thicker ones that customers are just as happy to take.” Therefore, people need to be incentivized to bring their bag. However, there have been environmental impacts made in the plastic bag ban. According to Ald. Joe Moreno, the cleanup crews in his ward, have told him they “absolutely see a reduction in plastic bags floating in our parks and streets.”

Finally, education is a major factor in all policy implementations for long-term stability. Cashiers education the customers about the use of plastic bags, and how reusable bags are better for the environment. Therefore, changing the behavior of being wasteful to more conservation. According to Zellner et al (2008), “These preliminary explorations allow us to examine how small changes in behaviour, land-use policies and investment in public schools may have significant impacts on environmental quality and long-term sustainability. (p. 486) Thus, examining how it affects one area can increase long-term sustainability and environmental quality in other cities or states.



Elejalde-Ruiz, A. (2015, July 30). Plastic bags a headache for

recyclers. Retrieved March 31, 2016, from


Elejalde-Ruiz, A. (2016, February 1). Six months in, Chicago’s

plastic bag ban a mixed bag. Retrieved March 31, 2016,




4 thoughts on “Bag to Differ

  1. In China, some supermarkets do not provide plastic bags, and if you need bags, the markets only sell “eco-friendly bags” that are made by fabric. It really encourages people carry bags by themselves.


  2. I didn’t know that Chicago actually banned plastic bags for a time before! I agree that education is definitely one of the most important aspects, because unless the public understands the problem they’re not going to go through the inconvenience of bringing their own bag to the store. I think incentivizing it will go a long way too, kinda like an additional coupon for people who shop at the grocery store a lot.


  3. I agree with the incentive idea. People pay an extra 10 cents for a thicker plastic bag that will probably do the environment more harm. If the public doesn’t know this, then they will continue to pay 10 cents to buy a plastic bag rather than purchasing a bag that they could re-use. I also think that sometimes people just forget about bringing a bag to the grocery store. Since this policy on plastic bags is relatively new in Chicago it is understandable why some people have the habit of going into the store and expecting to get their groceries bagged.


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