Council votes to send plastic bag ban back to committee


Daily file photo by Annabel Edwards

Rising Weinberg freshman Jessica Hoffman uses plastic bags after a trip to the drug store. Aldermen voted Monday to continue discussion on the possibility of a plastic bag ban in Evanston.

Rebecca Savransky, Summer Editor

Aldermen authorized further discussion Monday of a proposal that would require some Evanston businesses to eliminate the use of plastic bags.

The proposal will be sent back to committee for as long as necessary to determine whether to implement the ban for chain and franchise stores, Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) said.

City Council began considering the move after Chicago ​passed a partial ban in April.

A proposal to restrict plastic bags within Evanston was discussed in council in 2011, but no legislation came out of it. At a meeting held last month, Evanston residents, Northwestern students and local business people debated whether the ban would be feasible and whether there were better alternatives.

Evanston residents expressed concern over the proposal during Monday’s meeting. Dick Peach, the former president of the Evanston Chamber of Commerce, requested that council allow further discussion on the issue, noting there are better ways to address the problem.

“The big problem isn’t plastic bags,” he said. “It’s single use items that are truly single use items — paper cups, paper bags, food wrappers, plastic water bottles — that’s about 99 percent of the trash that I see littering my neighborhood.”

Peach said that through education and incentives, people can learn to change their habits. He said this would be the way to more effectively deal with the problem and would avoid the need for money to be spent on enforcement.

“This is a wonderful idea that I think is very misplaced. I think we have a problem with litter, I think we have a problem on multiple levels, but I don’t think plastic bags are the sole culprit,” Peach said. “I think the big problem with the plastic bag is not the bag, it’s the person. It’s how we handle it.”

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