Dallas reconsiders plastic bag ban after a year of study

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by JASON WHITELY / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on January 15, 2014 at 10:08 AM

DALLAS — Plastic bags blend in to the landscape of litter, cling to fence lines, and are an eyesore everywhere.

Windy days seem to exacerbate the issue — especially in South Dallas.

"It's not about this area; it's about this product," said Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway, who represents District 4. "Your taxes are going to go up five years from now just to clean this up."

He is pushing Dallas to ban single-use plastic bags — soon.

"It'll happen before March," Caraway predicted.

Austin has done it. So has Los Angeles.

Dallas has talked about a ban before.

It studied the issue last year, and on Wednesday morning it is returning to the entire Council.

A final vote won’t happen this week, but Council members should give the clearest indication yet whether this proposal will survive in the city.

Opponents say banning bags isn't necessary and could cost stores financially. They favor enforcing existing laws that punish litterers, not retailers.

"In other areas that have banned plastic bags, Kroger has seen sales go down," said Gary Huddleston, a spokesman for the supermarket chain.

Sales have gone down, he added, because customers only purchase what fits in their reusable bags and often avoid impulse items.

Other grocery stores, department stores, and drug stores all oppose any bag ban.

"The solution is a strong recycling program,” Huddleston said. “Maybe it's more education."

That's an option for Dallas on Wednesday morning. It could continue the study; force stores to charge a fee for plastic bags; or approve Caraway's proposal and ban them outright.

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