To ban or not to ban, that is the question regarding Dallas City Council’s opinion of plastic, single-use bags. On Wednesday, the council was briefed on the issue of banning plastic bags in the city. Yet, not everyone appeared to agree with the proposed measure. The Boy Scouts of America, The North Texas Food Bank and Goodwill Industries of Dallas are all among reported businesses that oppose the ban.
“The criminal is the plastic bag and today the bag is on trial,” District 4 Councilman Dwaine Caraway said during the afternoon briefing.
Caraway, who spear-headed the proposed ban, was vocal and likened plastic bags as criminals infiltrating the city. At one point, Caraway pulled out two re-useable bags to demonstrate how accommodating those bags are in comparison to plastic bags.
A detailed power-point presentation was presented to council members. According to the report, 400-million plastic bags circulate the city of Dallas every year. A study concluded the bags account for .6% of all litter in the city. Another study conducted over the summer concluded it costs about $8.26 for every bag removed from city creeks.
Pros and cons of the use of single-use bags were presented to include the following findings: the bags litter the city; they pose a threat to wildlife; and the bags pollute the Trinity River.
“Either we deal with it today, or we let this pile on for the next five years,” Caraway demanded. “Now’s the time for us to stand strong.”
The information drew skepticism from others on the council.
“It’s the people who are doing the crime,” District 9 Councilman Sheffie Kadane said. “We need to teach them how better to throw the bags away.”
Council was eventually presented seven options on how to move forward on the issue. In addition to an all-out ban, the city is considering conducting a year-long, thorough study; imposing fees for using plastic bags; immolating other successful ban models in other Texas cities; and requiring stores to implement recycling programs.
Exemptions would be made for plastic bags containing dry cleaning, restaurant food and bags used during donation drives by non-profit organizations.
“This isn’t just one little battle we’re going to fight. This is a big, big issue we’ve got to deal with,” Mayor Mike Rawlings told council. “Whatever we do needs to be simple and everyone needs to understand it.”
No decision was reached during the briefing.