Victory: Illinois Governor Quinn Rejects Industry-Sponsored Plastic Bag Recycling Bill
Plastic bag recycling bills are a tricky subject. Plastic bag recycling sounds like a nice environmentally-friendly issue. However, it really has questionable, if any, environmental value and distracts people from a more straightforward goal – source reduction of plastic bags. More importantly, state plastic bag recycling bills often include language that preempts local jurisdictions from passing local ordinances relating to plastic bags. For example, in California AB 2449 preempts local municipalities from charging for plastic bags (hence the plethora of local plastic bag bans in California). A similar law almost made on to the books in Illinois, but thanks to a outcries from environmental groups around the country, Governor Quinn saw the Illinois plastic bag recycling for what it was – a pro-plastic industry bill - and rejected it. The Illinois bill would have preempted all local plastic bag ordinances (bans and charges) except for possibly in Chicago. One of the main people behind the hard-fought defeat of this bill was 13-year-old Abby Goldberg of suburban Chicago who led a petition drive and collected 170,000 signatures via change.org, which makes this story all the more inspiring.
This is a huge victory for the movement to reduce the consumption of plastic carryout bags and should act as a warning to environmental groups and political leaders in other states (including New York) to be very mindful that such bills do not include language that preempts local plastic bag ordinances.
For more information see this ABC Chicago local news story.