Plastic Bag Recycling | Chicago Ordinances

Plastic Bag Recycling In Chicago Is A Step In The Right Direction Towards Zero Percent Landfill

Though met with intense grumbling, Chicago’s plastic bag ban and plastic bag recycling programs have the potential to provide strong environmental benefits. The purpose behind the law is to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, as litter, or in the waters of Lake Michigan. Retailers of a certain size are no longer able to offer single-use plastic bags to their customers. Meanwhile, consumers are encouraged to return used plastic bags to smaller retailers. The business can then either reuse or recycle those bags.

When practiced correctly, the ordinance should help businesses of all sizes save money and help to reduce the city’s overall waste output.

Cost Savings For Retailers And Consumers

Shopping bags cost money. The traditional single-use bags cost between 2 and 5 cents each to produce; paper bags cost between 5 and 23 cents each to produce. It’s not uncommon for retail stores to pay between $1,000 and $6,000 per month to purchase plastic bags for their customers to use. Does the retailer eat this cost? No. They pass this cost of doing business on to the customer. Customers don’t see an upcharge for using plastic bags, but it’s there. It’s been worked in to the price of the products being sold.

By eliminating plastic bag use and encouraging plastic recycling, Chicago businesses can save on the cost of buying new bags every month and consumers might possibly see a slight reduction in product costs as a result.

Reduce Waste Output

plastic bag recycling chicagoIf fewer bags are available, fewer will find their way to littering the streets, alleys, and waterways of the city. Plastic bag bans have the power to cut off the flow of waste at the source. It’s a case of supply and demand. The city bans the bags. Retailers stop offering them. Consumers stop using them. This effectively guts the demand for such bags within city limits. And if the bags aren’t there, they can’t get away from us and become a litter problem.

But, let’s say you are vigilant about your bags; you reuse them and always make sure they end up securely in the trash. Well, that trash has to go somewhere; it goes to the landfill. Landfill space is at a premium; adding items will take up already limited space, especially items that can be reused and recycled, like plastic bags and recyclable paper.

The ordinance isn’t just about reducing the amount of plastic bags floating around the city. It’s also an attempt to reduce the amount of waste output the city generates. Use reduction and recycling reduce the amount of waste that travels to the landfill, in this case plastic bags. One intangible benefit to the ban may come in the way of consumer behavior. When faced with having to provide their own bags or being charged for new, reusable bags, consumers may adjust their spending habits and buy fewer items that would have eventually found their way to the landfill. In this way, the ban could have the effect of reducing waste at the source in addition to plastic bag usage.

Plastic Recycling Companies In Chicago Are Here To Help You

Undeniably, change is hard. But the plastic bag ban and plastic bag recycling in Chicago open the door for companies to think about how they do business, how the waste they generate affects their bottom line, and where that waste goes once it leaves the store.

If you are a business owner who wants to learn more about what can and can’t be recycled or how your waste stream is affecting your bottom line, call Combined Resources, Inc. at 855-782-8490. We can help you identify opportunities to reduce your waste output and improve your recycling rates through a customized waste recycling system.


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