Evanston polls public on switch to reusable bags

Jennifer Ball, Assistant City Editor

Evanston officials are conducting an online questionnaire aimed at helping residents stop using plastic bags and transition to reusable shopping bags by August 2015.

The questionnaire will be used to gather the public’s opinion on how Evanston’s new plastic bag ban, which was passed in July, should be implemented and adjusted, Evanston’s sustainable programs coordinator Catherine Hurley said. Available on the Engage Evanston site, the poll asks participants about their reusable bags preferences, including their preferred type of bag and how much residents are willing to pay for them.

City Council passed a plastic bag ban July 28 after much debate among aldermen over its practicality. The ban will affect 27 businesses in Evanston. It requires businesses larger than 10,000 square feet, such as Whole Foods, Jewel-Osco and CVS, to eliminate their usage of plastic bags by Aug. 1, 2015. The city was able to determine that the production and use of plastic bags is wasteful and has a negative impact on the environment, according to the Evanston ordinance. Aldermen considered the ban after Chicago passed a partial ban on plastic bags in April.

A proposal to ban plastic bags was first introduced and discussed in council in 2011, but resulted in no legislation. Once Evanston assesses the survey and the public’s needs, it will start to develop a strategy to reach out to residents and educate them on the ban, Hurley said.

“The city is understanding people’s current behaviors,” Hurley said.

“Whether we (use reusable bags) voluntarily or because of a ban does not matter as long as we do it,” Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl told The Daily in an email. She said she takes her own plastic bags when she goes to the grocery store because she believes it is better for the environment.

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Twitter: @jennifercball

Previous stories on this topic:

    Aldermen ban plastic bags for 27 Evanston businesses
    Council votes to send plastic bag ban back to committee
    Community discussion of plastic bag ban gets heated
    Evanston aldermen to weigh plastic bag ban modeled after Chicago ordinance