The Dallas City Council recently passed an ordinance aimed at reducing the use of single-use carryout bags (both paper and plastic) within the City of Dallas.
UPDATE: In June of 2015, Dallas City Council voted 10-4 to repeal the 5-cent bag fee. Dallas grocery stores and businesses will be able to offer plastic bags for free again.
Contrary to what you might think, single-use bags will still be available after the bag ban goes into effect on January 1st, 2015. The hook is that shoppers would be charged 5 cents per bag. This ordinance was passed to encourage the use of reusable bags as part of the city council’s efforts to clean up and beautify the city.
Some are seeing this as a potentially litigious situation because it could force some plastic bag manufacturers and associated businesses out of business. The ordinance also saw a close call during voting, which came to 8 in favor and 6 against the bag ban. Zac Trahan, representing the Texas Campaign for The Environment says that Dallas should enforce this ordinance given the fact that nine other cities within Texas have already taken action on similar “bag ban” ordinances.
The man responsible for this new law is council member Dwaine Caraway. Caraway had been campaigning for close to a year to have the ordinance passed. Many of Caraway’s colleagues who voted against the bag ban ordinance said that it was a form of government intrusion, and that the reusable bags being fronted by environmentalists would also end up in landfills and pollute the environment the same way single use paper bags have been doing so in the last couple of years.
The American Progressive Bag Alliance chimed in soon after the vote, saying that the new law would jeopardize the jobs of 4,500 workers, subsequently hurting consumers.
The Texas Retailers Association is also up in arms and has contested this move, asking Attorney General Gregg Abbott about the legality of the ordinance. Gary Huddleston (who represents the association) is of the opinion that stronger recycling programs and punishing people who litter would achieve a much better outcome instead of punishing retailers for something that seemingly isn’t their fault.
The debate rages on, and depending on the Texas AG’s verdict, there could be changes made to the ordinance before it is implemented.