In an article published on August 7, 2017 by the newspaper Chicago Tribune, writer Lauren Zumbach reported on the checkout bag tax that was implemented in the city of Chicago, U.S., on February 1, 2017. The bag tax replaced a previous ban of single-use plastic bags in Chicago that took effect in August 2015 (FPF reported). The new tax applies to paper and plastic bags provided at supermarket checkouts for carrying the items purchased at the store. The bag fee amounts to 7 U.S. cents, whereas 5 cents go to the city and 2 cents to the retailer. So far, the tax has encouraged shoppers “to plan ahead and avoid the disposable bags offered for a fee at checkout,” Zumbach informed. As of July 25, 2017, the city of Chicago has collected about U.S. $3 million, which is “on pace to come in well below the $9.2 million the tax was expected to generate for city coffers this year,” Zumbach explains. These lower-than-expected tax collections are in line with research commissioned by the city of Chicago indicating that shoppers are using less checkout bags since the tax took effect, Zumbach further noted. What remains to be seen is whether the bag tax will have a long lasting effect on shoppers’ behavior.

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Lauren Zumbach (August 7, 2017). “Paper or plastic? Chicago bag tax is encouraging shoppers to say ‘neither.’