SPRINGFIELD - While most were focused on the hot button pension debate Wednesday, the Illinois Retail Manufacturers and Illinois Manufacturers are happy with another bill that passed in the House. The legislation the IRMA supported will make Illinois the first state to put new restrictions on the type of plastic bags retailers will purchase and pass along to you, their customers. After a quick stop back by the Senate, the measure could be headed to the Governors desk as soon as Thursday.
The IRMA supported SB 3442, which would require plastic bag manufacturers to register and pay fees to the IL EPA as well as provide recycling centers for discarding used plastic bags. Here's the IRMA's rationale:
IRMA supports the plastic bag recycling bill. It gives consumers choice by continuing to provide options in how they carry home their purchases and it gives them a responsible way to dispose of the bags. More importantly, setting up a statewide plastic bag recycling program creates a vehicle to get plastic wrap (which is 85% of the plastic waste stream) recycled. The bins will accept plastic bags, wrap, dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, etc. As consumers begin to understand the importance of recycling, and as residential recycling programs grow, it really makes sense to try to add plastic bags and film recycling opportunities wherever possible.
SB 3442 accomplishes that goal. It will increase the number of recycling bins around the state so that everyone, regardless of whether you live in a large metropolitan area, or small town can have an opportunity to recycle their plastic bags that they don't plan to reuse. We look forward to participating in this recycling program and are hopeful that the Senate will pass the bill and that the Governor will sign it into law.
Sponsored by Democrat Senator Terry Link, SB 3442 was surprisingly sponsored by GOP State Rep Mike Tryon and other normally conservative House members. It passed the House Wednesday with a 72 to 44 vote after a 36 to 15 Senate vote back in March.
The Illinois Policy Institute made their position in opposition to SB 3442 pretty clear in the IR post "Don't Take Our Plastic Bags," but they had more to say as the bill returns to the Senate for consensus before going to the Governor:
Illinois' fiscal house is burning, and the Illinois General Assembly is worried about micro-managing plastic bag use. The Office of Management and Budget clearly noted that the fees called for by the legislation will not cover related expenses, so taxpayers will be on the hook for providing more resources to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. That lawmakers of both parties would grow government even as we can't seem to afford what we have is mind-boggling.
Others were surprised that Republican lawmakers and retail store owners eagerly handed the Environmental Protection Agency more power. The IRMA's website makes clear their support of Democrats Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and AG Lisa Madigan. It's certain those persons at the IRMA representing traditional small retail mom and pop stores aren't as apple pie as some might have assumed.