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Local group’s environmental concerns led to Edwardsville bag fee

A grassroots organization, Bring Your Own Glen-Ed, is hoping to nudge people in the direction of reducing single-use plastic bags beginning next spring when a recently approved bag fee goes into effect in Edwardsville.

Mary Grose, of Edwardsville and member of Bring Your Own Glen-Ed, was the guest speaker on Monday, Oct. 21, at “Coffee with Cool Women,” hosted by the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Women’s Studies Program.

“There is a lot of plastic waste in our oceans, but there’s even more in our landfills,” said Grose, “and it doesn’t go away. It doesn’t biodegrade, and most of it is not recycled.”

The environmental concern became a battle cry for several individuals from Edwardsville, Glen Carbon and Collinsville who formed a group to address the environmental issue of limiting the use of plastic bags. The group started as a result of a larger collective, which took shape after the 2016 presidential election. Action Metro East was founded to address issues and concerns, and represent ideas on the local and state level.

“Stephanie Malench, of Collinsville, asked if anyone was interested in reducing single waste,” noted Grose. “About 12 of us got together initially. We are presently seven active members who have worked a lot for two years.”

On Oct. 15, the Edwardsville City Council unanimously passed the Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance to reduce single-use plastic bags. The proposal will go into effect April 1, 2020.

“The main feature of the ordinance is that there will be a 10-cent fee on both single-use plastic and paper bags in Edwardsville retailers 7,000 square feet or larger,” said Grose.  “It’s optional, because it is easily avoided if you bring your own bag.  It is not a tax, because the retailer retains the fee. None of the money goes to the city.  Additionally, shoppers on public aid are exempt. The whole idea of the ordinance is to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags and minimize waste.”

“Over the years, single-use bags have become a habit. However, now there are more than 100 countries in the world and more than 500 American cities that have some kind of single-use bag legislation,” she continued. “This concept is clearly gaining momentum.”

For more information about Bring Your Own Glen-Ed, contact Grose at

PHOTO: Mary Grose, of Edwardsville, organizer of Bring Your Own Glen-Ed.


  1. robert grant on October 29, 2019 at 4:38 pm

    this as structured is a farce, if the bag fee wen to actually removing bags from the landfills, maybe, but exempting all retailers under 7000 sq. ft, and poor folks show how badly thought out this is , the largest two retailers in this area, walmart and sams are not affected as they are glen carbon, most folks wont remember, and will the checkout people load into your bags? , all of this is a windfall for the retailers affected ,not a real deterrent to fewer bags in the landfill, and wanting less plastic in landfills, doesnt explain why they included paper bags which do degrade quickly , very poorly thought out

  2. Alberto Gonzalez on October 30, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Whats next, thanks to these bureaucrats, prohibiting bathroom waste basket bags? This is how most thinking people recycle their supposedly single use plastic bags in order to save money. Most people reuse these plastic bags on their bathrooms and kitchens instead of buying equally non biodegradable plastic bags labeled for waste purposes.

  3. Bistro W on October 30, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Definitely a ham-handed attempt by the city to appear adequately ‘woke’. Whether or not the money goes to the city, it’s a tax on shoppers. It’s a shaming tool that not only penalizes people who can afford the 10 cents, but also presents one more crutch where low-income folks are marginalized, having to ‘prove’ they can’t afford plastic bags. If a business like Schnucks wants to encourage customers to bring reusable bags, fine, let them figure out how and let market dictate the success of that idea…but instead, these self-righteous crusaders have made the businesses the bad guys, and like Robert Grant said, drive business to Glen Carbon. Besides, those reusable bags become bacteria-laden within just a few uses, putting people’s health at risk. What a bunch of stage-one thinking this is…way to go.

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