Jun 16, 2022 - News

Single-use plastic banned from Illinois state parks

plastic forks and spoons
Single-use plastics are being phased out of state parks and natural areas. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Gov. J.B. Pritzker quietly signed a bill last week banning single-use plastic in hundreds of state parks and natural areas.

Why it matters: Most single-use plastic is neither biodegradable nor recyclable. When offered in state parks, it often creates piles of trash in places that are supposed to be protected.

How it works: Starting in 2023, the state has to offer either compostable or recyclable foodware in state parks and natural areas.

  • The rule will extend to vendors with contracts at state parks, like concession stands, that renew on or after Jan. 1, 2024.

What they're saying: "It's simple: Eliminating plastic use at our parks is a small step we can take to make a big difference," bill sponsor State Sen. Julie Morrison tells Axios.

  • "By implementing more biodegradable and reusable alternatives to plastic, we can put our communities on a path toward sustainability."

What's next: Environmental advocates will be pushing for more.

  • "While there are miles more to go when it comes to reducing the demand, production and distribution of single-use plastics, this is an important step in the right direction," Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, tells Axios.
  • "We hope to help other state agencies find ways to play a bigger role in the reduction of plastic pollution in our state."
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