Evanston’s Environment Board voted Thursday night to recommend City Council restrict bags in big stores.

The new rules, recommended by city staff, would apply to “non-restaurant chain retail establishments exceeding 10,000 square feet.”

Those stores would be barred from providing single-use point-of-sale plastic bags and non-compostable plastic produce bags starting June 1.

And they would be required at the same time to start charging a tax on single-use paper point-of-sale bags, which would have to be recyclable and made up of 40% postconsumer recycled content.

The size of the tax wasn’t specified in the staff memo, but City Council has previously discussed imposing a 15-cent-per-bag tax.

In January the City Council sent a bag tax and ban proposal that would have applied to stores — regardless of size — back to committee after complaints from small business owners that the measure would tend to drive customers away to shop in other towns that don’t impose such restrictions.

The city for several years has had a ban on the use of point-of-sale thin-film plastic bags in stores larger than 10,000 square feet, but environmentalists have been dismayed by the decision of most such stores to use thicker plastic bags instead.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. I order groceries online from Mariano’s in Skokie where I can choose which bags I want, without a charge.

  2. I’ll stop shopping in Evanston and head to the neighboring burbs. Good way to lose business Evanston. Bag tax is why I no longer go to Chicago to shop.

  3. Obviously the Environment Board could care less if there are even more empty storefronts in Evanston than there are now

  4. I have been bringing my own bags, including produce plastics, from home for well over 10 years, so this does not bother me as much as it may bother many others. But nevertheless, it will be a tough transition for stores and customers alike. Having said this, I still do most of my primary grocery shopping outside of Evanston because of panhandlers and seemingly disturbed people who approach me nearly everywhere I go in our beautiful town. So I have to also agree with citizens above that some rules with good intent just add to the challenges local businesses already face. Our small and boutique shops and restaurants still get plenty of support from me… mostly because they are unique and worth whatever aggravation I might encounter on the street.

  5. Our alder people hate businesses. We will have the greenest city with the most boarded-up storefronts and the highest taxes. Nice.

  6. I will be shopping with Karen – not in Evanston. Correct me, as I am confused, I pay money for a bag that I DO RECYCLE, but don’t get a benefit back from using it. Nonsense! You can get a break on glass bootles of Oberweiss milk. The milk is good and I don’t mind paying more and getting a return on continuing to purchase. Not the same with this bag tax, right?

  7. Yep, just what we need in Evanston. More reasons for businesses and shoppers to go elsewhere. It used to be when I told people I lived here, they’d tell me how lucky I am. Now they just ask if our City Council is really as bad as the news reports. I have to answer, sadly, yes.

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