Embraces bag fee through reusable option, sculpture
Tyler Pletsch | The Intelligencer
EDWARDSVILLE — After the Edwardsville City Council unanimously approved a single-use paper and plastic bag fee on Oct. 15, a retail store has decided to stand behind that decision and embrace the movement.
Glik’s, a local and family-owned clothing chain, has recently unveiled a sculpture and selfie room at their Edwardsville location to spread awareness about what harm single-use bags can bring. Jeff Glik, part-owner of Glik’s, chimed in on why they decided to bring in the sculpture.
“When the City Council passed this to go into effect on April, 1, Jim [Glik] and I had been out in Colorado,” Jeff said. He went on to explain that they were attending an outdoor show and stumbled across a ChicoBag booth that had the sculpture on display. ChicoBag is a company that creates reusable nylon bags that open to the size of a standard plastic bag, but can be stuffed into a small pouch that can fit in one’s palm.
After a discussion about what ChicoBag was, the brothers decided to have one of the sculptures sent to their Edwardsville store as well as the reusable bags to be available for purchase; the bags can be purchased at Glik’s in an array of colors for $6.99.
When the fee was first proposed the community had mixed reactions. Jeff explained that some who opposed the fee said that it is just another way for stores to make more money, he listened and spun the idea.
“We listened to our customers and we decided that if a customer does need to purchase a plastic bag, Glik’s will donate the 10 cents to Joe Glik Park,” Jeff said.
After talking more about opposition to the fee, Jim (also part-owner) addressed the concept from their point of view.
“I think it’s only the beginning and I think we need to start addressing it one way or another, we know we have to do something,” Jim said. “I think it’s great that Edwardsville is the one that has started the movement and the more you read about it the more you’re educated and realize that something has to be done. We will see more and more of it, just like the word ‘recycle’ that is an everyday word now, ten years ago it was the beginning.”
Jeff also praised the city for implementing this fee.
“It’s neat that Edwardsville kind of stepped [up] and did this,” Jeff said. “I mean St. Louis isn’t doing it, Webster Groves [MO] isn’t doing this and Edwardsville really took the front. I really haven’t heard of anyone in the Midwest doing this, it’s very ‘California and Colorado.’”
The city is the first one in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area to pass such an ordinance. There are 23 retailers the fee applies to in the city of Edwardsville.
Besides the sculpture, the Glik brothers also set a space up around it with multiple graphics with statistics about what plastic pollution is doing to the environment. The brothers encourage the public to stop by the Edwardsville location and learn about the issue and take a selfie with the manikin that is wearing 500 plastic bags as its garments. The room and sculpture are likely to stay until at least April 1, 2020, the brothers said.
The brothers hope the fee will cut down single-bag usage by one half to two thirds. In 2018 alone, Glik’s customers, in Edwardsville, used 31,160 single-use plastic bags.
The single-use bag fee was brought to the city’s attention by a local grassroots group, Bring Your Own Glen-Ed (BYOGE) and the fee only impacts Edwardsville retailers with 7,000-square-feet or more of floor space. Along with the fee, there are a number of exceptions including newspaper bags, bags provided by a pharmacist, restaurant bags to take home leftovers and more.
Glen Carbon, for now, is exempt from being able to charge the fee. Village Attorney Jim Schrempf explained in April that the village, since it is not a home rule municipality, may charge the fee. Due to the state’s constitution, municipalities with a population of over 25,000 can use such expanded regulatory powers.
To visit the bag monster and selfie room, Glik’s is located at 124 S. Buchanan St. in Edwardsville and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.