Let us help you put your leftover reusable shopping bags to good use!
As you probably know, Oak Park's new "Bring your own bag" ordinance went into effect on January 1, 2018. Merchants with 5,000 or more square feet are required to charge ten cents per disposable bag provided at the check-out for goods carried out of the store. (This does not apply to restaurants providing carry-out or doggy bags, to the pharmacy counter for medicines or to the produce and meat aisle in a grocery store. You still can put your peaches in a single plastic bag that your rip off the roll in the store without paying an extra fee.)
The regressive nature of the fee is a concern - which is to say some people might not be able to pay the fee or be in a position to purchase reusable bags. Therefore, the Village of Oak Park and the Chamber of Commerce are committing to act as distribution points for free reusable bags. The Village of Oak Park already has distributed hundreds of bags, and it's only December. Mindy Agnew, Oak Park's Environmental Sustainability Manager, has even driven supplies of free reusable bags to small grocers and certain retailers to help lower income consumers access reusable bags at the check-out counter. This has been incredibly well-received.
So what's the Chamber Tip?
If you have excess logo'd reusable bags laying around your store or stuffed in a box in the back closet because they were for a long-past event, bring them over to the Chamber office! We ourselves are a distribution point and we are working closely with the Village to distribute the bags to those who need them. We are thrilled to add our members' logo'd bags to the free supply. People need bags right now and why shouldn't they be carrying one with YOUR logo?
Let us help you get those bags out into circulation. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 708.613.0550 or simply drop them off at 143 S. Oak Park Ave.
And if you are a retailer, don't forget to leave a supply for your own customers. Even though the new law only applies to large retailers, expect consumer behavior to change. If the law is successful, people will be looking for you to charge them for paper or plastic OR offer a reusable bag.
For more information on the Oak Park ordinance, visit oak-park.us/bringyourbag/