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Bag ban plan to get airing next week

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The carbon dioxide emissions generated in producing all the plastic bags estimated to be used in Evanston in a year "is equivalent to the emissions generated annually from 5.2 passenger vehicles."

The carbon dioxide emissions generated in producing all the plastic bags estimated to be used in Evanston in a year "is equivalent to the emissions generated annually from 5.2 passenger vehicles."

That's one interesting tidbit from a white paper prepared by the city's sustainability office in advance of a public meeting planned for next Tuesday to discuss proposals to tax or ban plastic and paper shopping bags in the city.

Based on U.S. Department of Energy figures, households in an American town the size of Evanston typically have a total of about 57,000 passenger cars.

So a bag ban, assuming it didn't lead any consumers to increase their auto use by shopping out of town, would be equivalent to reducing our personal fleet of vehicles by 0.01 percent.

The meeting Tuesday is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Parasol Room of the Civic Center.

The city white paper identifies 11 communities in five states that have imposed some form of ban on shopping bags.

It also reports on other strategies for reducing the use of disposable bags — ranging from educational campaigns, including some already underway in Evanston, to mandatory statewide recycling programs at supermarkets.

Meanwhile, the Evanston Chamber of Commerce is surveying its members about the bag tax issue and plans to present the results of that survey at Tuesday's meeting. Some merchants have said they fear a bag tax or ban would drive shoppers away from Evanston.

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