Plastic bag tax being considered by pair of Chicago suburbs

St. Charles and Batavia could be following in Chicago's footsteps with a new plastic bag fee.

A new proposal being considered calls for a fee of 10 cents a bag in order to encourage people to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store and help reduce waste.

The St. Charles Natural Resources Commission has been looking into the issue and pointed out at a city council meeting Monday that a growing number of communities like Woodstock, Evanston, Oak Park and Edwardsville already have such fees.

The chair of the group, Loren Nagy, said one recent survey showed overwhelming support for the bag fees.


Outside a Jewel in St. Charles Wednesday, one shopper from Alaska said that state banned plastic bags long ago, "for the reasons that are the same here, it's environmentally not a correct thing to do being that it's plastic and it's not biodegradable," said Diana Schmitt.

"So I have a bag of (reusable) bags. Instead of having a mess in the back of my trunk I always bring them in everywhere I go and then I don't have to worry about it," she said, Showing us how the small duffel bag clipped onto a shopping cart.

Fellow shopper Marie Mancini said the timing is horrible.

"I think to add any more money on what we're already paying during this inflationary time would be a mistake," Mancini said. "I think people are tired of having to pay more money for things."

Mancini also pointed out that recent studies have shown reusable bags often carry bacteria and other germs. 

"So, that became a problem. So, I think just recycle the plastic and forget trying to add more money on to what people are already paying," Mancini said.

The money raised by the tax would be divided with 40 percent going to the retailer, 50 percent to the city, and 10 percent to the Kane County Division of Environmental and Water Resources.

Research done in Chicago after the bag tax went into effect there, showed shoppers using 28 percent fewer disposable bags, and double the number of reusable bags.

It even led some shoppers to stop using bags altogether.

"I think it's a good idea," said Margie Kempff. "I think people should bring your own bags. I didn't this morning, but I try to if I remember."