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Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 05:16 pm

BAG BATTLE

Manufacturers of plastic shopping bags are fighting for their lives in the Illinois Statehouse, following Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto of a bill that would have preempted bag bans. Cities around the state – Springfield included – have considered banning plastic shopping bags in favor of reusable canvas or cloth bags, and while it’s unlikely to happen in Springfield anytime soon, the bag manufacturers aren’t taking any chances. During the spring legislative session, they pushed Senate Bill 3442, which would have prohibited municipalities from banning plastic bags in exchange for more efforts from manufacturers to recycle the ubiquitous sacks. Often winding up in landfills or as litter in the street, the bags could take hundreds of years to decompose, manufacturers admit, so recycling them would be a step in the right direction. But Quinn vetoed the bill after it passed the Illinois General Assembly with tepid support, saying municipalities should have the right to try options like taxing the bags. “Let’s not tie the hands of innovative Illinois municipalities that are laboratories of reform for Illinois,” Quinn said. “While well-intentioned, this legislation is a roadblock to innovation that would do little to boost recycling in Illinois. We can do better.”
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