City has solution in the bag Chicago Sun-Times Commentary
April 25, 2008
When it comes to attacking the problem of plastic shopping bags, Chicago is thinking small.
And that's not a bad thing.
Chicago officials could try to ban the environmental pests -- produced by the billions each year -- as San Francisco has.
Or tax them nearly out of existence, as in Ireland.
But Chicago isn't San Francisco. And heaven knows, we're taxed enough. So after much discussion with business and environmental groups, City Hall has come up with a more modest proposal, to be considered by the City Council next month.
The plan calls for grocery stores and pharmacies to provide bins for customers to drop off their plastic bags for recycling and also to sell reusable bags, such as those trendy canvas sacks.
Some environmentalists want Chicago to do more, and Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th), who is co-sponsoring the measure with Ald. Ed Burke (14th), stresses this is just a first step. The idea is to get people in the habit of recycling their plastic bags at a place they routinely visit.
That's smart. Make it convenient, and people will get on board.
Some large stores already offer the bins. Mom-and-pop shops, under the plan, would be allowed more time to get with the program.
It's nothing radical, just a nudge in the right direction that can make the Earth a little cleaner, our lives a bit brighter.