Not All Plastic Banned as New Grocery Bag Law Takes Effect

Many stores will offer sturdier plastic bags with handles that comply with the new law

The new ban on plastic grocery bags in Chicago goes into effect Aug. 1, but many stores won't ditch the plastic completely.

While the flimsy plastic bags that have become synonymous with many grocery stores will no longer be available, sturdier plastic bags will join the ranks of the reusable cloth bags in their place.

The law, which was approved by City Council last year, allows stores to hand out "reusable plastic bags" that are at least 2.25 mils thick. The bags must also have handles and be able to hold at least 22 pounds of groceries at least 125 times.

Mariano's is one of the only large retail grocery stores that plans to completely do away with plastic, which is arguably the whole point of the ban. Beginning Aug. 1, the store will offer paper bags for free or reusable cloth bags for purchase as low as $1.

Jewel-Osco, Target and Walmart will offer the sturdier reusable plastic bags that comply with the law for no purchase in addition to the reusable cloth bags for a cost.

According to a Jewel spokesperson, the grocery store will have several choices for bags. This includes the free sturdy plastic bag and "several styles" of reusable bags that cost as little as 10 cents.

Walmart and Target will also offer the free reusable plastic bags, with Target retaining the 5-cent discount incentive for shoppers who bring the plastic bags back to reuse, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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