The city's governance committee will soon be considering a ban on single-use plastic bags -- bags you would use at the grocery store, take-out bags and bags at several retailers.
According to District 7 Councilman Cris Medina, the city spends $1.3 million cleaning up discarded bags. The threat to the environment from the bags, which you currently cannot recycle anywhere but at retail-based bins, was the main concern of city leaders and one community advisory board.
Last year the Citizen's Environmental Advisory Committee made recommendations to the council to prohibit the bags, charge when they were used, promote rebates for people using reusable bags, and pay for an education campaign about the bags.
Cities across the country have banned the cumbersome bags that find their ways into streams, lakes, and the ocean. According to the Surfrider Foundation, more than a 150 municipalities are covered by a ban bagging ordinance, including Brownsville and Austin in Texas.
The City of Austin passed their ban last year and was immediately sued upon implementation by the Texas Retailers Association, who said it violated state code. The lawsuit was later dropped, but the association still believes the ban stifles innovative ways of recycling the bags and raises costs to consumers.
- District 7 Councilman Cris Medina, who led a community round table discussion on the issue a couple weeks ago.
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