Outside the Beltway: Kiss Those Plastic Bags Goodbye, Evanston!

Mike Brownfield /

Paper or plastic? How about neither?

If you live in Evanston, Ill., be prepared to kiss your plastic bags goodbye . . . and maybe your paper ones, too. Some in the city council are prepared to take a stand against what some see as a terribly pernicious threat to the environment. The Chicago Tribune reports:

I hate plastic bags, and I’m prepared to vote tonight to eliminate plastic bags or brown paper bags — whatever it takes to get rid of them,” said Ald. Ann Rainey.

The proposal remains in its infancy, and the logistics of how a ban would be implemented aren’t clear. City officials plan to meet with small-business owners, national chain store representatives and residents to discuss the possible bag ban before revisiting the topic at a May 23 committee meeting.

Any restrictions would put Evanston in league with an expanding group of jurisdictions that have taken a variety of tacks toward coaxing shoppers to tote reusable bags.

Rainey would love California, where Santa Clara County, San Jose, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Fairfax, Los Angeles and Santa Monica have banned plastic bags in the name of protecting the environment. Last year, Washington, D.C., passed a 5-cent tax on plastic bags to discourage their use, and similar bans and/or taxes are being proposed all across the country. Heritage’s Rory Cooper writes that this is part of a disturbing pattern of regulation:

Behavior taxes are the new trend for liberal politicians across the nation. Whether it is five cents in DC for a bag, or the crippling costs President Obama is adding to gas prices to discourage fossil fuel use. Without an economically viable and supported argument for their policies, they turn to the invisible hand of the government to penalize you daily, and hope that you simply absorb the new costs of living without a fight.

What do you think about local governments banning plastic bags? Leave a comment below!