- Chicago's partial ban on plastic bags starts Aug. 1. Mom-and-pop retailers and restaurants are excluded from the ban, as are "non-franchise" independent stores measuring less than 10,000 square feet.
- Mariano's grocers plans to replace plastic bags with paper ones. Target and Jewel-Osco plan to introduce a “reusable” plastic bag that retailers say meets the requirements of the new ordinance, passed in May 2014.
- Bring Your Bag Chicago had opposed the ordinance, saying it doesn’t go far enough. Spokeswoman Jordan Parker said retailers are “exploiting” a loophole in the law with the reusable bags. “Whenever a consumer is allowed to take a free bag, they think, ‘It’s free. I don’t have to bring it back.’ ... And free bags don’t change consumer behavior.”
Most municipalities have tried to reduce plastic bag use by charging fees. Parker said Bring Your Bag Chicago will lobby the city council to amend the ordinance so that stores would have to charge at least 10 cents a bag, whether paper or plastic.
The plastic bag industry counters that manufacturing is all about sustainability. "About 12% of plastic bags that are manufactured are recycled [into new bags], but about 75% of plastic retail bags are reused," said Novolex Senior Director Phil Rozenski in an interview with Waste Dive earlier this month. "And about 72% to 87% of all plastic bags are reused or recycled. There’s not a lot of them remaining to be recycled. Very few of them actually go to a landfill."