Editor’s note: The RoundTable has more Evanston City Council Jan. 9 coverage on the city seeking to renegotiate the District 65 MOU, slow down District 65 campus decisions, Fifth Ward school survey results and the Artists Book Home agreement.


City Council members voted Monday to table action on a proposed 15 cent tax on carry-out single use bags, responding to concerns from members of the business community.

Credit: Pixabay stock image

Instead, they referred the tax – which would have applied to any single use plastic bag of any thickness, as well as paper and compostable bags – back to the city’s Human Services Committee.

Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma, 4th Ward, who has been a strong environmental advocate dating back to before his service on the Council, stressed his support of the ordinance.

“However, as a Council member  in which there are a number of small businesses, I cannot support this ordinance as currently drafted.

“Given the precarious state of some of our small businesses still struggling to reemerge from the Covid economy, I am not comfortable imposing any additional burdens or hassles or headaches on those small businesses,” he said.

Nieuwsma said he and Council Member Eleanor Revelle, 7th Ward, have discussed some amendments to the ordinance.

Council members voted 8-1 to send the proposal back to committee, with Council Member Thomas Suffredin, 6th Ward, casting the lone “no” vote.

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

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  1. How about NOT charging people a tax on plastic etc. if they bring their own for reuse? And also making sure there are onsite alternate more permanent bags for reuse, so right then people can choose to buy those instead of paying a tax. (Grocery stores have done some of this for a long time but not so much other stores.) And maybe a lower tax -10 cents a bag?

  2. Hard agree on the thoughts regarding small businesses. Hopefully it could be applied to larger corp stores then perhaps rolled out to the smaller retailers as we go. As folks may know, this kind of tax/charge did *a lot* to reduce single bag use in Colorado retail. I hope this gets done soon.