The Bag Bill bites the dust. A measure that would have set up a statewide voluntary recycling program for plastic bags has been vetoed by the governor. The bill also would have barred cities from enacting bag bans or fees for five years.

Tanya Triche, senior counsel for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association was for the bill. “Our whole issue was making sure that people continue to have a choice of which bag they want, whether it’s plastic or paper or reusable, and then also providing them with a responsible way for disposing of their plastic bags, if they chose to take them in the first place,” she said.

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But Max Muller of the group Environment Illinois, which opposed the bill, said it wouldn’t produce any more recycling than would take place without the law, and it would do little to discourage plastic bag use in the first place. He says if the city of Champaign follows through with an ordinance under discussion, in which a fee of a few cents per bag would be levied in order to encourage reusable bags, that ordinance in one city would prevent five times that bag waste that this bill would have prevented.

Several cities, including Chicago, Evanston, Highland Park and Oak Park, already require large retailers to accept bags and plastic film for recycling, and Muller says large retail chains in other cities are doing so voluntarily.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/