The Health and Environment Committee of Chicago City Council has given preliminary approval for a ban on single-use plastic bags in chain stores.

From summer 2015, the bags will be banned for retailers except independent stores and restaurants, who will get another year to eliminate the bags. Groups of three or more locations with the same owner and franchise stores of over 10,000ft² are considered chain stores for the purposes of the ban.

Stores will be able to supply or sell reusable bags, recyclable paper bags or compostable plastic bags, with an option to charge for disposable bags.

The committee has approved the ordinance through voting, and on 30 April, it will be moved to the full council for consideration, where it is expected to get approval.

Chicago alderman Proco Joe Moreno told the Chicago Sun-Times that Chicago is moving into a new economy.

"These bags are a relic of yesterday’s economy. There is no evidence from any country, state or city that has enacted similar bans of any job loss or any business loss," Moreno added.

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Around 70 cities and counties in California have enacted bag taxes, fees and bans, starting with San Francisco in 2007.

Image: The plastic bag ban is expected to affect chain and franchise stores in Chicago. Photo: Courtesy of winnond/