Shopper with plastic bags at Valli Produce on first day of ban.

The City of Evanston will not fine first-time offenders who violate the city’s new ban on plastic, point-of-sale plastic bags. But keeping it up could cost such businesses some cash.

The ban went into effect on Tuesday, and Evanston Now found that the two Jewel-Osco grocery stores in town, along with Valli Produce, were still providing shoppers the option of plastic bags at the checkout register (staffed or self-service), despite the prohibition.

Ike Ogbo, the city’s director of Health and Human Services, told Evanston Now Thursday, that his department’s “model and initial approach is to enlighten and educate community members about the plastic bag ban.”

In an email, Ogbo said a “notice of first violation” is issued, but then, the offender can be fined if they “continue to violate the Ordinance or show no effort to comply.”

The fine is $100 per incident, and each consecutive day is counted as an additional such event. Only the merchants are subject to fines, not customers who may receive the bags.

After being contacted by Evanston Now on Day One of the ban, Jewel had replaced the plastic bags with paper ones by that evening.

However, the manager of Valli said they intended to keep using up their existing order of plastic bags before changing.

It’s unclear if that is acceptable to the city.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Join the Conversation


  1. The afternoon of Thursday, August 3, Valli was still offering plastic bags to anyone who wanted one. I asked at the office, and they said “The City of Evanston” had visited the store earlier that day, and said it was ok to keep giving out plastic bags.

  2. It remains to be seen how real the bag fee will be. If customers really get upset about it then a grocer could offer a “customer appreciation discount” which gives a credit equal to the bag fee. The cost would then be made up in pricing of products sold.
    My guess is that most people won’t care and many won’t even notice the fee. We’ll see.

  3. Food 4 Less is observing the law and charging 10 cents per plastic bag. I am confused because I thought this was required by the city long ago. I remember submitting a question about it on 311 years ago and getting a response that the grocers had found some loophole to get around the law and the city was trying to close the loophole. Whatever the case, this is something that should have been implemented 20 years ago, but better late than never.

  4. While I agree that plastic bags should have been eliminated a long time ago, I don’t understand why a 10 cent fee per bag has been imposed on the sale of recycled paper grocery bags – that I put all my plastic wrapped items into. Also where does that fee go? Is it simply a way to raise money for the city and store?

    1. Paper bag tax is a tax on shopping, pure and simple. It is time to shop elsewhere and consider listing the house for sale. If we start bankrolling city elections with taxes, it’s definitely time to move. Paying the highest taxes is producing dwindling rewards.

      1. If you bring your own bag to Whole Foods you get $.10 back. Half of the $.10 goes to the store, and half of it goes to the city. I wish other stores besides Target and Whole Foods would give you money back for bringing your own bag. When I went to the Wilmette Jewel on Friday, I brought my own bags even though they had bags available for free. I bring my own bags to the Evanston farmers market too.

        1. All Evanston did was make it easy for shoplifters because now everyone will be going inside the store with their own bags

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