Chicago Plastic Bag Ban Closer to Passage

The term "paper or plastic" may soon become a relic in Chicago with the expected passage of a retail plastic bag ban.

The ordinance, sponsored by Alderman Joe Moreno (1st), passed a committee Thursday and will go before the full city council next week.

The ordinance, which Moreno has said has enough votes to pass and support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will ban large city retailers from using plastic bags for sales.

The revamped ordinance exempts restaurants and small independent retailers -- non-chain businesses under 10,000 feet with no more than three locations, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Supporters claim that 3.7 million plastic bags are used citywide on a daily basis, and an estimated 3 to 5 percent of all of those bags become litter.

But opponents, such as the Illinois Merchants Association, believe the ban would put undue strain on retailers and will deter new stores from moving to the city.

If passed, fines would range from $300 to $500 for each offense.

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