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.
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