The Chicago City Council on Tuesday morning heard testimony on a proposed citywide ban on plastic bags in stores, an ordinance not expected to gain traction anytime in the immediate future.
Among those testifying in favor of the ban Tuesday was 13-year-old Abby Goldberg of Grayslake, Ill., who last year successfully petitioned Gov. Pat Quinn to veto proposed legislation that would have made it illegal for any given local government in Illinois to ban plastic bags.
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“Sometimes kids can see the obvious solution because we’re not influenced by money or politics, but we cannot vote,” Goldberg said Tuesday, according to WLS. “So it’s our job to tell adults who have greater influence to take action.”
Though the City Council's Committee on Health and Environmental Protection heard the testimony Tuesday, no vote on the measure was taken.
The plastic bag ordinance has been in the works since October 2011 and is being pushed by Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st). In a HuffPost blog last week, Moreno wrote that an estimated 3.7 million plastic bags are being used citywide daily and that between 3 and 5 percent of them become litter, getting stuck in drains causing flooding, clogging landfills and jamming recycling machinery.
"Passage of the Plastic Bag Reduction Ordinance will not only help move our people away from these disposable relics of the old economy, but it will help Chicago take its rightful place as a leader of the sustainable and fiscally responsible new economy," Moreno wrote of the proposal.
Moreno's ordinance would ban the use of plastic bags in stores larger than 5,000 square feet, so small businesses would not be impacted.
Despite that distinction, opponents to the proposal still contend it would impact business -- and saddle consumers with higher prices. Tanya Triche, an attorney with the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, contended in a letter addressed to the City Council that the ban would be "tantamount to a tax on grocers" because businesses may raise their prices to support spending more on paper or reusable bags, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel remains neutral on the matter, according to City Hall sources cited by the Chicago Sun-Times.