Sally Stovall, of Green Community Connections, attended an Oak Park Board of Trustees meeting in May. Stovall did not speak, but others told the board to adopt a mandatory fee on single-use plastic bags. | Photo provided by Lisa Files, Green Community Connections and One Earth Film Festival

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, Oak Park will join cities worldwide that have banned, or charge, a fee for single-use plastic or paper bags. Ordinance #17239, passed unanimously by the village board on Aug. 8, requires Oak Park retail stores of 5,000 square feet to charge customers 10 cents for each single-use paper or plastic bag provided at the checkout counter. 

The ordinance is intended to encourage customers to bring their own shopping bags to avoid taking a single-use, disposable bag that may end up as litter. The 10-cent fee will be split between the retailer and the village; the village’s portion to be used for environmental sustainability initiatives. 

Studies bear out that both paper and plastic bags require large amounts of resources and energy to produce. Also, proper recycling requires constant oversight from both consumers, municipal waste collectors and private recycling companies. 

As we continue to shop locally, remember to reduce waste by using reusable bags. For more, visit https://www.treehugger.com/culture/paper-bags-or-plastic-bags-everything-you-need-to-know.html 

Marirose Ferrara 

Interfaith Green Network

Oak Park 

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