Chicago becomes the latest city to ban plastic bags

The movement away from plastic is picking up momentum

Topics: Plastic Bags, Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Environmentalism, aol_on, ,

Joining the proud ranks of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, among others, the Chicago City Council voted Wednesday to ban plastic bags in most stores, beginning next year.

Opponents are characterizing the ban as prioritizing the environment over the economy, expressing concern that the ban could disproportionately impact low-income communities where attracting grocery stores is already a challenge. Paper bags cost about 7 cents more to distribute than plastic, but the bill’s supporters argue this isn’t likely to cause a noticeable impact. Progress Illinois reports,:

“We act as if these are free. We know there is no free lunch,” [Ald. John Arena] said, noting that grocery stores already pass their plastic bag costs onto consumers. ”These bags are overused and are prolific in our waste stream and in our wards.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who believes the legislation “is a right step forward,” echoed similar sentiments about costs while speaking with reporters after the meeting, noting that “It’s not like what happens today is free.”

“The idea that today, the clock starts now as it relates to cost — they have costs for purchasing plastic bags,” the mayor said. ”You already incur a cost for the production and service of plastic bags. It already happens.”

“Today we’re not taking a small step, we’re taking a large step,”said Alderman Joe Moreno, who proposed the ordinance. Indeed, cities like New York are still trying to push through a 10 cent tax. But there’s evidence to suggest that the movement away from this particular environmental scourge is growing: As the Earth Policy Institute recently reported, about 20 million Americans currently live in communities with bans or taxes on plastic bags — a major change from 2007, when the very first ban was instituted in San Francisco:

You Might Also Like

Lindsay Abrams
Lindsay Abrams is a staff writer at Salon, reporting on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email labrams@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 8
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Sonic

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Sonic's Bacon Double Cheddar Croissant Dog

    Sonic calls this a "gourmet twist" on a classic. I am not so, so fancy, but I know that sprinkling bacon and cheddar cheese onto a tube of pork is not gourmet, even if you have made a bun out of something that is theoretically French.

    Krispy Kreme

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Krispy Kreme's Doughnut Dog

    This stupid thing is a hotdog in a glazed doughnut bun, topped with bacon and raspberry jelly. It is only available at Delaware's Frawley Stadium, thank god.

    KFC

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    KFC's Double Down Dog

    This creation is notable for its fried chicken bun and ability to hastily kill your dreams.

    Pizza Hut

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Pizza Hut's Hot Dog Bites Pizza

    Pizza Hut basically just glued pigs-in-blankets to the crust of its normal pizza. This actually sounds good, and I blame America for brainwashing me into feeling that.

    Carl's Jr.

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Carl's Jr. Most American Thick Burger

    This is a burger stuffed with potato chips and hot dogs. Choose a meat, America! How hard is it to just choose a meat?!

    Tokyo Dog

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Tokyo Dog's Juuni Ban

    A food truck in Seattle called Tokyo Dog created this thing, which is notable for its distinction as the Guinness Book of World Records' most expensive hot dog at $169. It is a smoked cheese bratwurst, covered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, Wagyu beef, foie gras, black truffles, caviar and Japanese mayo in a brioche bun. Just calm down, Tokyo Dog. Calm down.

    Interscope

    7 ways Americans have defiled the hot dog

    Limp Bizkit's "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water"

    This album art should be illegal.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...