Following the lead of Los Angeles, Chicago has become the second largest city in the country to pass a plastic bag ban ordinance.
City council members on Wednesday voted 36-10 in favor of a ban, which is set to go into effect in August 2015. Endorsed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the ban will spare “independent” stores and establishments, instead focusing on chains and franchises throughout the Windy City.
Like many plastic bag bans, the ordinance will require stores to carry alternative bags, such as “compostable” bags, paper sacks and reusable totes.
At independent stores and restaurants, an existing city ordinance will continue to hold merchants responsible for offering alternatives to plastic bags and providing a visible collection bin for used plastic bags.
While Emanuel has voiced his support for the measure as an attempt to “improve the quality of life in our city and give our children and our families a better shot at a better future,” detractors have taken aim at the partial ban as doing more harm than good.
“Banning plastic bags in Chicago will have a negative impact on all sectors of the city’s population,” said William Carteaux, CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. “Reduce, reuse and recycle are much better options.”