Ban the Bag in California!

Chicago Reusable Bag Ordinance

Chicago Reusable Bag Ordinance

Chicago 1st Ward Alderman, Proco Joe Moreno introduced an ordinance on November 2, 2011 which will restrict the use of plastic checkout bags in stores that are over 5,000 square feet. The ordinance will need to weave through various committees before a full council vote. Aldermen Fioretti (2) Solis (25), Cappelman (46) and Pawar (47) are co-sponsors of this ordinance. The ordinance would eliminate plastic bags, place a five cent fee on paper and compostable plastic bags along with mandating that stores offer reusable bags for sale. Three billion plastic bags are used annually in Chicago and very few get recycled. There are powerful organizations who have already told Moreno he can’t pass this ordinance. “I like a good fight,” Moreno said in response. “These bags cost taxpayers millions of dollars every year. They clog our sewers and litter our streets, while the giant corporations who use them make record profits.” Read below for more info and how YOU can help.

  • Chapter:Chicago
  • State: IL
  • Country: USA
  • Theme: Rise Above Plastics
  • Launch Date: October 10 2011
  • Completion Date: Ongoing

The best way to help pass this reusable bag ordinance is to contact your Alderman to let them know you support the reusable bag ordinance and they should too! 

Click Here for an email and phone list for all 50 Chicago Alderman or Click Here to find your Alderman with your home address. 

Call and/or email your with the following message, "I am your constituent and ask you to please support the plastic bag ban ordinance.  Plastic bag litter is an eyesore for our city that costs taxpayer dollars to cleanup and there's a simple solution in reusable bags."  Add you own personal reasons also if possible.

Sign the petition to let all Chicago Alderman know that you support a Reusable Bag Ordiance!

Surfrider also has an Online Action Alert set up so you can easily send a message to Mayor Emmanuel to register your support.

Another easy way to show your support and follow the campaign is to 'Like' the campaign on Facebook:

Click Here for the Surfrider Foundation Chicago Chapter website and read on for more info on why this ordinance is needed.

Single-use plastic bags represent one of the greatest environmental catastrophes of our generation.  Plastics take hundreds of years to break down in water and most types never truly biodegrade. As a result, marine animals often get entangled in the debris or mistake it for food.  In urban areas like Chicago they can also clog storm water drains and litter the landscape resulting in urban blight and increased cleanup costs to taxpayers.

Over 1 billion plastic checkout bags are used each year in Illinois, requiring ever-increasing demands on natural gas and oil. Sadly, only 1.5% of those bags are recycled and cities, counties, and non-profit organizations must pay millions each year to clean up plastic litter.  The good news is that the City of Chicago is considering legislation to address these issues!

In 2008, two Aldermen introduced legislation to reduce plastic bags in Chicago. The supporters of this ordinance eventually compromised to accept a recycling program in the city, which has done virtually nothing to improve the situation. It’s time to revisit the issue and show the world that Chicago is a leader that knows how to get important things done!

This new ordinance would place a ban on plastic checkout bags at all retailers over 5,000 square feet and include an outreach program to distribute and encourage reusable bags. Chicago should join the growing number of cities in the U.S. and worldwide that are responding to this important environmental issue.

The Surfrider Foundation Chicago Chapter supports the reusable bag ordinance within the City of Chicago, which will further reduce waste and encourage people to shop with reusable bags. Such an ordinance is needed to help prevent plastic pollution, protect our Great Lakes, save money and reduce our dependence on non-renewable resources.

Surfrider Foundation Chicago Chapter Contact: Kristin Smith,