Chicago’s Plastic Bag Ban
Almost a year ago, July 31st 2015, Chicago passed a law that places a ban on plastic bags. The law is specifically for larger chain stores that are more than 10,000 ft. large. The law would require that stores utilize and distribute reusable bags. The purpose behind this law to minimize the use of plastic bags in order to strive for a more sustainable Chicago. Another purpose of the law is that it is pushing for consumers to bring their own bags when they are shopping.
While the intention and purpose of the law seem ideal, practical and better for the environment, researchers and environmentalists are arguing that the exact opposite is taking place. Large corporations have found a way of getting around the law. By increasing the thickness of the plastic bag, they claim that the bags are reusable and are therefore they are allowed to give those bags to customers at no cost. For example, thicker plastic bags can be found at Target, Walgreens and Walmart while other stores such as Marshalls and Best Buy have begun to distribute paper bags. Larger stores however, are not encouraging the reuse of these thicker plastic bags. As a result, there has been no good outcome to the law put in place.
Sometime in the future, there will be an amendment made to the law that increases the thickness of the plastic bags in an effort to make it too costly for the stores to distribute. The hope is that these stores would begin to use a more biodegradable bag.