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Chicago passes bag ban; SPI expresses opposition

The Chicago City Council today voted 36-10 to ban plastic bags in most stores next year, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The Chicago City Council today voted 36-10 to ban plastic bags in most stores next year, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The ban will go into effect in August 2015 and applies only to chain stories, which is defined as a group of three or more that has the same owner, or retail stories with more than 10,000 square feet. Smaller chain stories and franchise have an additional year to adjust to the ban, while independent stories with less than 10,000 square feet are exempt.

Retailers are told to "provide reusable bags, recyclable bags or any combination thereof."

This news might not be too surprising as a similar measure was first proposed seven years ago by Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Moreno called the bags "relics of the past," saying other options like reusable bags were available. "It's for a new Chicago, a better Chicago," Moreno said.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also supported the effort calling it "the right step to do."

As soon as the ban was passed, SPI President and CEO Bill Carteaux issued the following tweets:

SPI's NPE plastics trade show was previously held in Chicago until making the move to Orlando in 2012. It returns to Orlando in 2015.

Prior to the announcement, SPI issued a news release proclaiming its opposition of the bag ban.

"The proposal to ban plastic shopping bags in Chicago is an ill-conceived job killer that will become a costly burden to families across the city. Paper bags, the plastic bag substitute, are an expensive option that will trickle down to the consumer through increased costs for groceries and other products," said Carteaux.

"Banning plastic bags in Chicago will have a negative impact on all sectors of the city's population," Carteaux said. "Reduce, reuse and recycle are much better options."

In 2012, the 892,000 American jobs in the plastics manufacturing industry accounted for $41.7 billion in payroll, according to a report titled, "The Definition, Size and Impact of the Plastics Industry." The plastic bag manufacturing and recycling industry employs more than 30,800 people in the U.S., 3,000 in Illinois and many in the Chicago area, according to the American Progressive Bag Alliance.

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