Last August, Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed an industry-backed bill that would have required plastic bag manufacturers to set up recycling programs in the suburbs and Downstate. An override effort in the Senate failed in November by a 24-23 vote. (Thirty-six votes were needed to override.)
Quinn said the bill didn't go far enough. But here's the problem: In the five months since then, plastic bag recycling has gone nowhere.
Some environmentalists think the answer to all those plastic bags blowing around state and filling up landfills is a per-bag fee or an outright ban. But outside of Highland Park, which already had a law, nothing has actually gone on the books. (Chicago also had a recycling program in place.)
Going through the process of making a proposal, discussing it, reaching a consensus and then actually passing an ordinance takes time. But where are the municipalities that have enacted a ban or a tax, or are even on the way to doing so?
The bill that died in Springfield had a five-year sunset provision, so the argument that we need something better only works if you get the improved version in place within five years.
But there's little or nothing on the horizon, either statewide or locally, to recycle bags and film, ban their use or charge a fee.
Instead, plastic bags and film continue to fill up our landfills.
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