After several years of starts and stops, an important step was taken in Chicago as the city's aldermen, led by Alderman Joe Moreno, voted to institute a ban (effective Aug 2015, for smaller chains Aug 2016) on single-use plastic bags. The language in the ordinance exempts restaurants and retail stores with two or fewer locations and less than 10,000 sq. ft. Affected stores will be required to provide reusable or recyclable bags.
Although the ordinance is a significant step toward reducing and preventing plastic pollution, the ordinance's singular focus on plastic bags (and not paper or “compostable” bags) leaves much room for improvement so that single-use bag usage and pollution is curbed overall.
The Chicago Chapter will take this for what it is: Phase One of the campaign to bring this city up to the level of other cities globally that are banning plastic, instituting fees on paper, and promoting reusable bags. The chapter will remain patiently vigilant and activated on this issue going forward.