Plastic Bag Tax

The City of Chicago has implemented a plastic bag tax in all grocery stores. Since February of this year, all grocery stores has been charging their customers $0.07 for each bag they use from them. The city will receive 5 cents and the retailers will get back 2 cents for each bag sold. In order to not to be taxed, customers would have to leave the store without one and carry their items out by hand or bring their own bags. This was bag tax ban was implemented in hopes of limiting the use of plastic bags that would usually just end up filling landfills and dumpsters. Is this tax working? Most people wont see this as an issue. Its a painless charge and people are willing to spend the extra few cents because its more convenient for them. The only other way I could think that would encourage others to bring their own bags is if we cut out all plastic bags completely. This isn’t the only tax the city has enforced. The water bottle tax is also in place for the same reasons, limit landfill waste.


Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in a vertically stacked structure to limit space, increase crops, and to cut down on waste. As the population grows and we begin to live in more urbanized cities, researchers are suggesting that vertical farming is viable food production system that will accommodate to the increase demand for food. Currently, Newark, New Jersey holds the largest vertical farm created by AeroFarms. Investors have put in $30 million for renovations to turn old industrial sites in to farms. These farms are producing up to 2 million pounds of greens a year. Their systems require no soil, sunlight, or water. The plants are fed nutrients for it to grow using a manufactured technology called aeroponics. This project is hoping to transform the agriculture system by using technology as a solution to the food shortages as the population continues to grow. AeroFarms are aiming to produce quicker crops in smaller spaces to limit any potential environmental damages. They are hoping that the little to no use of pesticides and fertilizers will attract consumers to their products. The facility will also create jobs for people. Because their farms are running on mainly renewables such as solar polar and LED lights, it is brining the carbon footprint down. Along with that, AeroFarms are only producing their products to be sold to local shops and markets. Crops are sold similarly to organic products at a 20% premium.

Air Quality in Chicago

Air quality in Chicago has always been a big concern of the city since as early as the 19th and 20th century. For years the heavy smog and air pollution are and is still mainly sourcing from factories and industries. Just recently, in the last few years, new factors are contributing to the problem. And despite the attempts to limit this problem, the city of Chicago still violates many air safety standards concerning the ozone layer. The increase in air pollution is directly impacting the health of the millions of people living in these unhealthy air levels. From lung health to our immune system, intense and consistent efforts need to be done in order to mitigate this issue in Chicago. Studies have even ranked this city as the sixth most “sneeziest” state in the U.S. Reports are showing that climate change and carbon emissions are inducing asthma and allergy attacks. A number of deaths, asthma attacks, and emergency room visits are results from the bad air quality related to the ozone. With such alarming data showing how much it is impacting our health, it is important to find solutions now.

In order to solve, or at the very least improve on this issue, many things can be done. For one, at the state level, we can push for an increase of investment for renewable energy sources to decrease carbon emissions or emissions from power plants. The people living in the Chicago can also contribute by using Divvy bikes or public transportation that are available all around the city. That alone can reduce air pollution by up 40%.  Completely reducing air pollution will be a long process, but small efforts can make the biggest difference in the long run.


Solar Powered Street Lights

Project Title: Solar Powered Street Lights

Project Timeline: 5-6  years — adjustable

Preliminary Budget: $99 per street light

Project Description: In an effort to reduce energy and cut costs for street light maintenance, solar powered street lights are an affordable and environmental friendly option. Street lights are the largest energy related cost. The U.S. uses about $6-8 billion annually for the keep up of conventional street lights. Switching lights can reduce costs tremendously. Solar panels are not connected to an electrical provider which allows for little to no maintenance. Using sunlight as its main energy source can also reduce carbon emission. Solar powered street lights last double the time of traditional street lights.