Plastic bags for large retailers will become a thing of the past in Chicago this August, and the village of Oak Park is considering following the Chicago City Council’s lead.

Carolyn Cullen, who serves on the village’s Environment & Energy Commission, told Wednesday Journal that the commission has been discussing the issue since early last year at the request of the Village Board of Trustees.

Cullen said the commission plans to discuss the issue at its meeting, set for 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 2, at Oak Park Village Hall.

“Since the issue came up with Chicago planning its plastic bag ban and Evanston and so many other places, the board asked us for a recommendation,” she said.

It is still unclear, she said, whether the commission will recommend a ban or enforce a fee for using plastic bags or some other option.

The commission conducted an online survey earlier this year on their use of plastic bags. She said the results of the survey, which is unscientific and was completed by about 600 people, will be discussed at the Tuesday night meeting.

Karen Rozmus, environmental services manager for the village, also is surveying the business community to gauge their concerns with banning or limiting plastic bag use.

Plastic bags have become a topic of discussion largely because they are not biodegradable like paper bags and create litter and damage to the environment. 

“They end up in the oceans and they don’t break down,” Cullen said. 

They also are difficult to recycle because they frequently get contaminated with food waste and there is little demand for used plastic, she said, noting that Waste Management discourages people from putting them in recycling bins.

Contact: tim@oakpark.com

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