Take Action Against Weak, Restrictive Recycling Legislation

Excerpt from information provided by K.C. Poulos, Sustainability Manager, Village of Oak Park, provided to members of the PlanItGreen Core Team

It's not too late to take action!

New information:  A 12-year old Illinois girl, Abby Goldberg, has collected over 150,000 petitions in opposition to the Plastic Bags Bill (see details below).  Please check out her story on her web site,  "Gov. Quinn, don't let big plastics bully me!" and follow her lead.  Sign her petition and also call the governor's office (Info below), AND pass the word on to every Illinois resident that you know!

For those interested in working on letters and phone calls to the Governor’s office, the Plastic Bag Recycling bill is SB 3442.  The Village of Oak Park sent a letter in opposition while the bill was in committee.  Rob Cole, Assistant Village Manager, offered this analysis.

The bill is weak in mandating plastics recycling and strong in prohibiting local communities from acting on their own. In short, it’s a pro-plastics bill. For example, here’s the penalty for non-compliance with any of the proposed Act’s provisions: "Any [plastics] manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer who violates any provision of this Act or fails to perform any duty under this Act shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000." That does not sound like much of a deterrent to avoiding the Act’s provisions – enforcement and litigation costs would eclipse the fine, not to mention that many of the violations would involve overseas processing facilities far from the watchful eye of the Illinois EPA charged with enforcement activities.

At this point, despite its obvious limitations, the only thing that would defeat this bill is a veto from the Governor.  The best way to effectuate a veto is to flood his office with phone calls and letters in opposition to the legislation.  Please feel free to use the above information as you create your request to veto the legislation.

Here is contact information for the office of the Governor that deals with constituent concerns (the office compiles the information and sends the Governor summaries and graphs showing the level of interest by topic):

Phone:  312-814-2121

Online:  http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/Pages/ContacttheGovernor.aspx

Finally, although we discussed that online petitions are not as effective as directly contacting the Governor’s Office, here are two that address SB 3442: