Study finds Chicago bag tax driving down disposable bag use

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CHICAGO – Chicago’s new 7-cents-per-bag tax appears to be working. That’s according to a study by researchers from ideas42, New York University and the University of Chicago Energy & Environment Lab.

Chicago implemented the tax on February 1.

Since then, the study found a decrease in both the number of disposable bags used and the number of customers using them.

Prior to the tax Chicago shoppers used an average of 2.3 bags per grocery shopping trip. Preliminary analysis shows that since the tax, that average has dropped to 1 bag.

The percentage of people using disposable bags dropped from 82% before the tax to 48.8% since it was imposed.

The number of customers using reusable bags has increased from 13.2% before the tax to 33.2% after the tax.

Researchers analyzed bag use at large grocery store chains in the months leading up to the tax and since it was implemented.