Chicago Shopping Bag Tax

The additional 7-cent-a-shopping-bag tax in Chicago for household foodstuffs and other goods, and asking for a bag, was imposed by the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The tax is aimed at disposable bags given away for free by many retailers. After one-time use many shopping bags are immediately disposed of as landfill garbage, and some are let go to blow around.

The seven-cent tax replaces an earlier Chicago ban on lightweight plastic bags, which city officials characterized as only partly effective at best. Various bags used by shoppers inside supermarkets, such as lightweight bags used by shoppers to wrap produce or baked goods, are exempted from the tax. Shoppers who bring reusable bags woven from plastic fiber or canvas, as many shoppers do in Europe and on the U.S. West Coast, will not need a plastic bag and will be exempted from the tax.

The new Chicago tax does not apply to retail purchases made outside Chicago. It went into effect on Wednesday, February 1.

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