Beginning Aug. 1, large Evanston retailers will no longer provide free, point-of-sale disposable plastic shopping bags to customers under an ordinance the city adopted last year to decrease the use of disposable plastic shopping bags.

To help make the transition, the City has launched a “Think Outside the Bag” campaign. The campaign will include reusable shopping bag giveaways at Evanston locations throughout the summer, as well as a new “Share a Bag” program.

Share a Bag Program
Beginning Friday, June 12, individuals and community organizations will be able to drop off or pick up reusable shopping bags at the following Evanston locations:

  • Main Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.
  • North Branch Library, 2026 Central St.
  • Chicago Ave./Main St. Branch Library, 900 Chicago Ave.
  • Morton Civic Center, 2100 Ridge Ave.
  • Chandler-Newberger Center, 1028 Central St.
  • Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd.
  • Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.
  • Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St.
  • Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave.
  • Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St.
  • Robert Crown Center, 1701 Main St.

In addition to dropping off or picking up reusable shopping bags at these locations, community members can also conveniently drop off plastic bags and plastic film for recycling.

Bag Giveaways
To ensure that all community members have access to reusable shopping bags, the City will give away “We Love Evanston” shopping bags:

  • Monday, June 8, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Chicago Ave./Main St. Branch Library
  • Sunday, June 14, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Robert Crown Center
  • Thursday, June 18, 9 a.m. to noon, Ecology Center
  • Tuesday, June 23, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Levy Senior Center
  • Sunday, June 28, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Main Evanston Public Library
  • Wednesday, July 1, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Chandler-Newberger Center
  • Tuesday, July 7, noon to 3 p.m., Morton Civic Center
  • Friday, July 10, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Noyes Cultural Arts Center
  • Wednesday, July 15, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center
  • Monday, July 20, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., North Branch Library

There will be a limit of one bag per resident on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Evanston Shopping Bag ordinance impacts stores larger than 10,000 square feet that are part of a chain or franchise. Stores that will be impacted include: Aldi, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Cost Plus World Market, CVS, Food 4 Less, Gordon Food Service, The Home Depot, Jewel-Osco, Marshalls, Office Depot, OfficeMax, PetSmart, Sam’s Club, Target, Trader Joe’s, Valli Produce, Walgreens and Whole Foods.

Any bag made predominantly of plastic and less than 2.25 millimeters thick that is not certified commercially compostable will not be given to customers at the point of sale.

Dine-in and take-out restaurants, as well as non-chain stores, are exempt.  Stores may still provide paper bags at check-out. Heavier duty retail plastic bags, as well as plastic bags used to package products in-store, such as produce, meat and other grocery items, are also allowed. Additionally, the ordinance does not prohibit customers from using bags of any type brought to the store for their own use.

The City encourages community members to bring their own reusable shopping bags when shopping at any store in Evanston.

Join the Conversation


  1. Not Shopping In Evanston
    Good thing I rarely shop in Evanston anymore. Plus I still get some free dog bags by not doing so.

    1. What to use instead ?
      The 125 uses over [carried for] 175 feet indicates they expect people to take them to their cars. Taking the car to the store [even getting it out of the driveway] probably causes more environmental damage than 10 new plastic bags would. Many people [and I hope ALOT] walk one mile with the bags and bikers may go two miles or more with five to six bags full of groceries.

      I can carry five or six of current type plastic bags in my backpack but doubt the same with any of the proposed new [esp. cloth bags] all day and then to the store. And will business people carry five or six of any types of bags in their brief case and then to the store ? No they go home and drive back to the store—maybe retracing their route—and add to pollution.

      City government officials invent these policies but never consider the effects. But then again they probably have personal shoppers and chauffeurs who do the shopping or drive them to the store and carry their bags.

      I guess we are suppose to use animal hides to transport liquids and solid products like they did around Jesus’s time.

  2. Please explain to this simple minded person

    So on Friday afternoon I go to the Jewel/Osco store at Howard & Kedzie, I have a shopping cart full of groceries (say about $210 worth).  How many disposable shopping bags should I bring with me (15, 20 or maybe 25)?  HELLO MARIANOS!

    1. No More Trash/Poop Bags

      This will make the Wildlife (Rats, Squirrels, Raccoons, Oppossums, Skunks,  Birds, Bats) very happy since fewer people will be using plastic bags for the garbage they throw away.They will just  get into  trash can and have a feast.  Instead of plastic or newspaper  they will just  toss in garbage can loose.

      The animal poop will just washaway sometime. 

      1. Poop Bags… no more.

        Awww poop…. 

        On second thought, those nifty bags in the produce section work a lot better for picking up poop and they take up A LOT less space in my pocket when walking our freewheeling little poopers!  I know I can carry my own reusable bags so I guess that makes us all good here!  One could almost say it's all about the planning.

        1. I guess you will just need to

          I guess you will just need to pick up poop with you reuseable bags or use paper.

      2. Keep your own dog poo on your lawn.

        Make it a law you are only allowed to walk your dog on your own home or building property,also keep your cats inside,they kill birds and other animals.

    2. Plastic Bag Ordinance

      From what I read [rather lack of comment] and residents say, Wilmette and Skokie will still provide plastic bags.
      Small Evanston stores will still provide plastic bags so they, Wilmette and Skokie are in for more business.

  3. plastic bag ban
    Thank you Evanston for always being progressive! Earth: 1 Lazy Folks: 0
    If it’s too much effort for you to bring your own bags to a grocery store then good riddance…Go ahead & do your polluting in Skokie until they also wise up. As for dog poop. I have 2 large dogs walked 3 times daily. If you haven’t yet discovered the myriad ways to clean up after your pet in a more environmentally responsible fashion than it just goes to show that your brain is as lazy as your body.

    1. I bet your the one who has

      I bet your the one who has been dropping the dog poop in my garbage cans. Are you too lazy to carry it home and drop it into own can? Well, I'll do it for you and take it out of your cheep bag.

      There are some cities that have recently reversed their bag bans while Evanston city council is thinking about banning books that do not meet their socialist agenda.

    2. Why many use plastic bags
      Try fitting 5-6 or more in your briefcase so you can pick-up grocery when you get off the train or in a back-pack so you can bike to the grocery after work, being at the library, etc.. You can easily fit that many plastic bags.
      If you don’t need plastic or paper bags and having the bulk of re-usable bags, I’d guess you drive to the grocery and don’t bother to consider the plastic bags offset the gas and pollution of a car.
      Many bag users use them until they get holes and then recycle them at the grocery stores or use them for garbage disposal. Since most 1-2 person homes won’t fill the plastic bags you buy in one or two days and don’t want to keep garbage more than that, they will underfill the bags and thus have more of them going into the garbage bills and landfill.

  4. plastic bag ban

    I live on the far north side of Chicago but have friends in Evanston so spend plenty of time there too; the bag bans go into effect at the same time. The co-op I live in requires our trash to be bagged in plastic. Before plastic grocery bags, residents used the paper grocery bags for trash disposal as well as wastebasket liners in the home. Now, many people use plastic grocery bags to line wastebaskets and dispose of their contents, even if it's not required by management. To save money I've been using wastebaskets that are small enough for the regular grocery bags. I've accumulated a pretty good supply for after the ban. When I run out of these, I'll have to buy wastebasket liners made of plastic – plastic which is much thicker than the grocery bags. This seems wasteful as well as more expensive. When I do have a plastic bag I can't use, I am always good in returning it to the bin in a grocery store. The problem of disposable plastic grocery bags ending up in the wrong places out in public is caused by people violating the laws against littering. We need more enforcement against littering. The bags don't go there by themselves. Litterbugs drop all kinds of stuff on sidewalks, streets, green places, waterways, etc.

    1. plastic bags

      Chicago stores are just going to be giving away slightly thicker plastic bags it turns out, and no doubt Evanston stores will do the same. In the end it will be the same amount (or more!) plastic and will only have increased costs. Maybe we can move on to deal with some real problems now…


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