Environmentalists and bag ban advocates are cheering at the news that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a plastic bag bill yesterday.
SB 3442, while mandating an overall increase of less than 1% in plastic film recycling rates, would also have removed local power to ban plastic bags in Illinois.
The bill appears to be a ploy to stop local bag bans while pretending to address the plastic bag issue with recycling. But plastic bag recycling doesn’t work, failing to reach double digit recycling rates even in CA where a statewide program has been in place since 2007, and where local governments have shown that plastic bags and film lead to expensive recycling machine repairs and have low market value.
CAW, along with other environmental groups and activists, were quick to point out the bill’s flaws. One young activist in particular who wanted to pass a bag ban in her Illinois town brought the issue into the spotlight with her online petition. Abby Goldberg’s "Don’t let Big Plastic Bully me" petition gathered more than 170,000 signatures to the Governor requesting his veto.
According to NBC, Governor Quinn said in a statement,
"Let's not tie the hands of innovative Illinois municipalities that are laboratories of reform for Illinois. While well-intentioned, this legislation is a roadblock to innovation that would do little to boost recycling in Illinois. We can do better."
The City of Champaign, which was in the process of passing a local bag ban when the bill gained traction, may soon continue work on its ordinance, along with other local governments interested in addressing plastic bag pollution.
Thanks to all who wrote in to Governor Quinn, or passed our veto letter on to others--you helped make this happen!
In California, 52 cities and counties have local bag bans.