Chicago disposable bag tax begins Wednesday

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bring a reusable bag to the store Wednesday to save some money while shopping in Chicago. A new disposable bag tax took effect Wednesday.

City officials said the main goal of the tax is to reduce the amount of trash going to landfills. The average Chicagoan uses about 500 plastic bags a year.

The bag tax also brings more money into the city. Of the 7-cent tax on disposable bags, 5 cents goes to the city and 2 cents go back to the retailer to cover their costs.

There are some exceptions. People won't be taxed for bags used to hold foods like fruits and vegetables, wrapped frozen foods or foods that could contaminate other items.

The tax was approved back in November. It applies to all Chicago retailers - not just large chains.

"When you bring in your reusable bag, it's not only good for the community, it's also good for the environment. Those bags are washable, reusable. They're sturdier and they don't end up in landfills or on the street," said Allison Phelps, Whole Foods spokesperson.

On Wednesday, 12 Whole Foods stores in Chicago will give free reusable bags to their first 1,000 customers and 16 Target stores in Chicago will give out 200 reusable bags.

The city will also be giving them away at these CTA stops from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday:

-95th Street - Red Line
-Roosevelt - Green, Orange and Red Lines
-Belmont - Red, Brown and Purple Lines
-Logan Square - Blue Line
-Ashland/63rd - Green Line
-Kimball - Brown Line
-Pulaski - Orange Line
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