Chicago Approves Plastic Bag Ban

Chicago, the nation’s third largest city, has become the latest U.S. city to approve a ban on plastic shopping bags.

The City Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of a partial plastic bag ban in Chicago. The proposal passed with a vote of 36-10.

The new ordinance will first go into effect in August 2015, when retailers occupying stores that are more than 10,000 square foot will no longer be allowed to offer plastic bags. Chain stores—defined as three or more under the same ownership—or franchise stores larger than 10,000 square feet. The ban will be extended to smaller chain stores and franchises in August 2016. Small independent or non-franchise stores and restaurants will not be affected by the legislation. Restaurants are exempt.

Last year, the nation’s second largest city, Los Angeles, California adopted plastic bag regulations. New York City, the largest city in the U.S. is currently considering a plastic shopping bag proposal.

Listed below are the United States’ largest cities that have passed plastic shopping bag regulations

Rank City Plastic Bag Regulations
2 Los Angeles, CA Passed plastic bag ban, June, 2013
3 Chicago, IL Passed plastic bag ban, April, 2014
9 Dallas, TX Five cents fee, plastic or paper, March, 2014
10 San Jose, CA Passed plastic and paper bag ban, December, 2010
11 Austin, TX Passed ban on plastic and paper bags, March, 2012
14 San Francisco, CA Passed plastic bag ban, April, 2007
22 Seattle, WA Passed plastic bag ban, December, 2011
24 Washington, D.C. Five cents fee, plastic or paper, July, 2009
28 Portland, OR Passed plastic bag ban, July, 2011

Our retail packaging specialists continue to stay on top of the changing markets. Let us help you navigate bag legislation in the municipalities you sell into and select the best packaging for your stores. We hope that you will contact us by phone at 888-429-5673 or via email at

Illinois Governor Vetoes Statewide Bag Legislation

2012 had a lot of momentum building for what is now known as the Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act (Illinois SB 3442). The State of Illinois was moving toward being the first state to pass a statewide recycling bill for plastic bags and plastic film. This would be ground breaking since no other state has been able to accomplish this. Instead retailers today have to navigate close to 100 and counting carry out bag ordinances in the United States.

The Plastic Bag and Film Recycling Act (SB 3442) was introduced by the state Senator Terry Link in February of 2012. It moved quickly through both Illinois houses and was approved June 1, 2012 by the General Assembly. The program mandated a state wide plastic bag and film recycling program along with creating a uniform recycling law for Illinois. If the law was approved, it would have also prevented local cities excluding Chicago from developing and implementing their own legislation regarding plastic bag usage, recycling and waste management. Once the bill was on Governor Pat Quinn’s desk, environmental groups petitioned and urged citizens to ask the Governor to veto the bill.

On August 27, 2012 Governor Quinn vetoed the bill. The bill now will go back to the General Assembly in November. This veto may now spur cities like Champaign and others that were in the process of passing local single-use bag legislation to start working on their own local ordinances. Other states including California, Massachusetts and Maryland currently have state wide legislation under review. California has tried many times; the most recent is AB298 which is currently in committee. Massachusetts (SB 2314) and Maryland (SB 164) also have legislation in committee.
Keep tuning into S. Walter’s packaging blogs or contact us by phone at 888-429-5673 or via email at so our retail packaging specialists can help you.

Bag Ban Confusion?

There seems to be a new single-use bag ban or ordinance every day, increasing the number of cities that have adopted single use bag bans this year to 42, and the total number of single use bag bans in the U.S. to 79 – nearly two-thirds of them in California.

In addition, Los Angeles – the nation’s second largest city, with a population of 4 million – is set to join that group. Two other communities Washington, D.C., and Montgomery County, Md. have fees on single use bags handed out at carryout.

Single use bag bans are now in place in 5 of the 29 largest cities in the United States – San Francisco, San Jose, Austin, Seattle and Portland. The nation’s fourth-largest city, Houston, is currently considering a single use bag ban proposal.

Also weighing a decision on single use bags is Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who has a petition urging him not to sign a bill that that passed in the legislature earlier this summer that would mandate single use plastic bag recycling and bar all cities in the state except for Chicago from banning single use plastic carryout bags.

But don’t worry if you’re confused about what’s banned and where, because the details are indeed confusing. These bans, fees and taxes are a patchwork of regulations, with differing standards. It doesn’t matter which side of the issue you stand on, the fact is new single use bag regulations are popping up everywhere, and WE ARE HERE TO HELP.  Our retail packaging specialists can help you navigate these regulations and select the best packaging for your stores.  We hope that you will contact us by phone at 888-429-5673 or via email at

Look for our next blog when we dive into the qualifications of a single use bag vs. reusable bag!