Illinois community looks at eliminating plastic bags - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois community looks at eliminating plastic bags

CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - The ban on plastic bags started in San Francisco, California in select stores.

Earlier this week, Evanston, Illinois took the leap in joining cities like San Francisco after city leaders approved an ordinance barring stores larger than 10,000 square feet from distributing plastic shopping bags.

Environmentalists are applauding the efforts and hope the trend makes its way to the Heartland.

An estimated 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year, 380 billion of those come from the U.S.

It's an inexpensive way to pack your groceries but it's impact to the environment is costly.

"Even if we get two or three a year, that is probably the tip of the iceberg," said Beverly Shofstall, who founded Free Again Wildlife Rehab in Carterville.

Shofstall said she has loved animals since she could walk.

She is currently mother to a raccoons, baby deer, countless squirrels and one bobcat.

"Just about anything that you could find in southern Illinois we've had at one time or another," she said.

She said she's personally seen and cared for a number of animals that have gotten wrapped up in litter, specifically plastic bags.

"Birds hanging from trees caught in plastic. A deer trying to eat a plastic bag," she said.

Shofstall said man is continuing to turn our habitats into an ever increasing danger zone for animals.

Which is why any effort to eliminate the garbage from turning up outdoors is a step in the right direction.

There have been several efforts made in the Heartland to reduce the amount of plastic waste.

Some grocery stores have provided reusable bags for customers, others only offer brown bags.

In the end, Shofstall said in order to dispose of the problem, we must eliminate plastic bags completely.

Chicago approved a partial ban on plastic bags in April that will take effect next year.

Those who are opposed of the ban say some reusable bags can contain lead and bacteria.

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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