Champaign exploring possible fee or ban on plastic bags

Students had a chance to learn more about the ongoing survey regarding possible plans to limit plastic bag use.

Angela Adams, the recycling coordinator for the city of Champaign, came to the University YMCA on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to hear student opinions on the plastic bag fee or ban. More than twenty students attended the meeting. Adams said that so far, more residents have participated in the survey compared to the previous week. The survey started Feb. 7 and can be filled out until Feb. 26. “So far we have about 800 respondents, which is huge for a city survey,” she said. “It’s a huge result, and I would say that most of the people who took the survey, the majority are in favor of a ban or a fee for plastic and paper bag.”

Adams added that translating the results of the survey into a law will take a while.

“On March 13, at the city building, I will present our result and study to the city council,” she said. “They will give the staff a direction to explore a fee, a ban, a recycling option or to do nothing. After that happens, we will take a few months to create an implementation plan.”

During the meeting, Adams encouraged students to take part of the survey and come to the March 13 meeting.

“Show residents that you care about this issue,” she said.

Eric Green, graduate student and facilitator of the Sustainability Coalition, also spoke at the meeting and talked about the economic cost of wasting plastic bags. He said the meeting was a good chance for students to raise awareness of bag litter.

“This really was inclusive and really pulled in effort to see what the students want,” Green said.

Adams said there will be a possible fee of 5 cents per plastic bag when the survey results become effective.

Students were able to ask questions and show concerns about implementing plastic bag fees.

Jamie Zouras, freshman in ACES, said as an eco-friendly person, this is good news.

“Something as big as the entire (city) expressing their interest on banning plastic bags or a fee on it; this makes me proud,” Zouras said.

After Feb. 26, the city council will review the survey responses and hold a meeting for Champaign residents to come and give input about the issue. The meeting is expected to be held March 13 at 7 p.m.