The plastic bag conversation has taken many shapes over the years, and will continue to do so after the City of Chicago approved a ban on plastic bags. It’s a forward thinking concept that many cities are beginning to consider after San Francisco and Los Angeles took the leap. The streets are littered with the bags, and although it will cost retailers more money, in theory it should save tax-payers some money with less clean-up needed. Here’s a look at Chicago’s plastic bag ban, but also some things your city could be considering.
Plastic bag ban approved in Chicago
Chicago has now become one of the first major cities to introduce a plastic bag ban. After getting some reassurance from California officials who have already passed the ban, Chicago officials pushed through and got the proposal passed. At first, the concept seems impossible, but since the ban doesn’t begin until August of 2015, there is time for retailers and residents to adjust. The year will allow for major retailers to find better alternatives, and also for the city to set-up for them. For example, if retailers chose to go with compostable bags, the city would need to implement curbside composting.
The first year of the ban will affect chain stores that have more than 3 locations with the same owner. Franchises larger than 10,000 square feet are also included in the ban. The second year of the ban will include smaller businesses and franchises. Not complying with the ban could cost the businesses up to $500 per day, so the incentive to find a better bagging option is there.
Will retailers put cost on customers?
One issue with banning the plastic bags is the cost of the alternatives. Plastic bags cost approximately three cents per bag, so switching to paper bags at six cents per bag would be significant. Then there’s the issue of durability with paper bags. Some companies even make biodegradable bags that cost around 15 cents per bag, but break down within a year.
By eliminating plastic bags, companies will have to shell out close to double what they were, so will they begin putting the cost on customers by rising prices throughout the store? Environmentalists have already voiced their approval of a 10 cent tax on shoppers to force them to bring re-useable bags, so it’s a like scenario that prices would be passed on to the customers in some way.
Is your city next?
Plastic and paper bag bans are popping up all over the United States, and your city could be one considering a ban. More cities in California have begun bringing proposals to the city councils. Dallas, Texas just passed a partial plastic and paper ban that will charge each customer five cents for every paper and plastic bag they use.
Regardless of your stance on plastic bags and the environment, now may be the time to change your shopping habits to save yourself some money.