Bring Your Bag Chicago
  • Petitioned Mayor Rahm Emanuel

This petition was delivered to:

Chicago City Council
Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chairman of the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection
Alderman George Cardenas

Bring Your Bag Chicago

    1. Bring Your Bag Chicago
    2. Petition by

      Bring Your Bag Chicago

      Chicago, IL

Did you know that single-use, disposable plastic bags cost Chicago taxpayers over $40 MILLION a year embedded in our grocery bills? And that doesn’t include the unquantifiable costs of cleaning up clogged storm drains, litter in our environment, and harm to local wildlife and beyond. Small particles of plastic eventually end up in our food chain, posing a danger to human health. In an effort to encourage the use of reusable bags, Alderman Joe Moreno, along with six co-signers, has proposed legislation stating that Chicago retail establishments larger than 5,000 square feet will no longer be able to provide free single-use plastic bags to customers. By signing below, you are showing support for legislation in Chicago that will encourage and support the use of reusable bags.

The first hearing for this ordinance was on June 18, 2013 at Chicago City Hall, and we received overwhelming support for this legislation. We were promised a second hearing and a VOTE at that hearing. Now, it's up to Rahm to give the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection its second hearing as promised. We are petitioning Rahm Emanuel directly and letting him know we want him to grant us a second hearing in the next few months. It's time, Chicago! Please support us in petitioning Mayor Emanuel and spread our petition around through your social networks. Thank you! Let's BE the CHANGE. 


Recent signatures


    1. Reached 1,500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Michael Friedlund CHICAGO, IL
      • 7 months ago


    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 8 months ago

      It would be hard to imagine a world without plastic. We value it for its wide range of practical uses and for its inexpensive nature compared to other alternative products; however, there is a downside. As the use of plastic continues to increase, the amount of plastic waste that ends up in trash cans and landfills ultimately increases as well. Fortunately, the recycling of plastic helps reduce many of the undesirable side effects associated with its consumption, while also creating markets for new products that can be made from the recovered waste.

      Many of our favorite products and containers are made from plastic. However, when we throw these plastics away they can often build up and cause some harmful effects. Most negative effects associated with plastic waste come from chemicals that leach from the plastic into the environment.

      Plastic wastes can break down and release toxins that harm the environment, animals and the general public, according to the International Plastics Task Force. Certain chemicals--such as bisphenol A--can cause some serious health concerns, according to an article on plastic bottles by Beth Daley of the Boston Globe. Even low doses of bisphenol may cause developmental problems in children.

      You can help reduce the effects of plastic waste disposal by recycling plastics and reducing their use, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Many communities have recycling services that pick up plastic waste from your door. When you shop for products, consider buying economy size products and open-air fruit. Businesses can help by finding ways to make plastic packaging more efficient. Milk producers use 30 percent less plastic than they did 20 years ago.

      The average American produces a half-pound of plastic waste every day; while around the world, 300 million tons of the exceedingly durable material are produced each year. Plastics were the material pegged to change the world; and they have had an amazing impact. But for all the technology and convenience borne from the polymer family, untold perils are becoming realized as well. Just how dangerous are plastics for human and environmental health?


      Wading through the confusing studies, many sponsored by those with financial interests in the material, has been a daunting proposition. So hats off to Rolf Halden, associate professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering at Arizona State University and assistant director of Environmental Biotechnology at the Biodesign Institute. Halden has undertaken a survey of existing scientific literature concerning the hazards of plastics to human health and to the ecosystems we depend on. His findings, which appear in the latest issue of the Annual Review of Public Health, his conclusions are pretty grim.

      Because of the material’s longevity, plastics pile up in landfills and are occupying the world’s oceans in increasing quantity. Halden’s study reiterates the fact that the effects to the environment from plastic waste are severe. Measurements from the most contaminated regions of the world’s oceans show that the mass of plastics exceeds that of plankton sixfold. Patches of oceanic garbage, called gyres, are swirling vortexes of plastic bits. The North Pacific Gyre, one of several in the world, is expanding at such a rate that from the first time it was studied until now, it has grown from the size of the state of Texas to twice the size of the continental United States!

      Aquatic birds and fish routinely becomes victims because although plastic does undergo some biodegradation, it doesn’t thoroughly break down. And plastics and their additives aren’t just present in our environment, virtually all of us ingest them as well; plastic is consumed with the food we eat, the water we drink and from other sources.

      As Halden points out, annual production alone would fill a series of train cars encircling the globe. “We’re doomed to live with yesterday’s plastic pollution and we are exacerbating the situation with each day of unchanged behavior,” he said.

      Two classes of chemicals from plastic are of serious concern for human health: bisphenol-A or BPA, and additives used in the synthesis of plastics, which are known as phthalates. BPA is a basic building block of polycarbonate plastics, such as those used for bottled water, food packaging and other items. BPA is a synthetic estrogen and commonly used to strengthen plastic and line food cans. Scientists have linked it, though not conclusively, to everything from breast cancer to obesity, from attention deficit disorder to genital abnormalities in boys and girls alike.

      Adding to the health risks associated with BPA is the fact that other ingredients are routinely added to plastics. Many of these potentially toxic components also can leach out over time. Among the most common is a chemical known as di-ethylhexyl phthalate or DEHP. In some products, like medical devices including IV bags or tubing, additives like DEHP can comprise nearly half of the of the product. “If you’re in a hospital, hooked up to an IV drip,” Halden explains, “the chemical that oozes out goes directly into your bloodstream, with no opportunity for detoxification in the gut. This can lead to unhealthy exposure levels, particularly in susceptible populations such as newborns.”

      Halden explains that although plastics have some beneficial and legitimate uses in society, their thoughtless misuse has led to a gravely unsustainable condition. “Today, there’s a complete mismatch between the useful lifespan of the products we consume and their persistence in the environment.” Prominent examples of offending products include single-use water bottles, Teflon-coated dental floss and cotton swabs made with plastic PVC sticks. All are typically used for seconds or minutes, yet will persist in the environment, sometimes for millennia.

      Ultimately, developing petroleum-free materials for use in smart and sustainable plastics will become a necessity, driven not only by health and environmental concerns but by the world’s steadily declining oil supply. As Halden emphasizes, the manufacture of plastics currently accounts for about 8 percent of the world’s petroleum use, a sizeable chunk, which ultimately contributes to another global concern — the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

      “We are at a critical juncture,” Halden notes, “and cannot continue under the modus that has been established. If we’re smart, we’ll look for replacement materials, so that we don’t have this mismatch–good for a minute and contaminating for 10,000 years.”

    • Phillip Cooper CEDAR LAKE, IN
      • 8 months ago

      I love our water system and believe it's an invaluable resource.

    • Lynn Adams PACIFICA, CA
      • 10 months ago

      What a difference it will make to the World if Chicago signs on to limit plastic bags in the city! They are not necessary and the do way too much harm!

    • Cornelius Boon CHICAGO, IL
      • 10 months ago

      What's holding us back from getting rid of a billion plastic bags? Because we're too lazy to make the switch? We as a city with a half-assed commitment to recycling really need to step up. This is a good start.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.