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Proposal Would Ban Both Paper AND Plastic Grocery Bags

 
Proposal Would Ban Both Paper AND Plastic Grocery Bags
Posted Wednesday, November 13th 2013 @ 5am  by Jim Forsyth, photo credit Shutterstock Images

 A proposal introduced at San Antonio City Hall would ban all so called 'single use' bags, both paper and plastic, from the city's retail outlets and grocery stores,' 1200 WOAI news reports.

  Northwest side Councilman Cris Medina says so caleld 'pilot programs' designed to cut down on the litter from the bags have not worked.

  "The City of San Antonio spends $1.3 million each year, nealry $3600 per day, dealing with waste from single use bags," Medina said.  "Voluntary efforts have not worked.  If you look around at fences, tres, curbs, and waterways all over San Antonio, you can see how big of a problem these bags are."

  By banning paper bags as well, the city is entering into relatively uncharted territory.  Several Texas cities have banned plasticbags.  Other cities, like Los Angeles, have tacked a fine onto all single-use bags.

   But Ronnie Volkening, who heads the Texas Retailers Associaiton, is not convinced that a ban on bags would have a noticeable impact.  He says the proposal would cost retailers, as well as families, at a time when they can least afford it.

  "The costs of supplying your own reusable bags will be borne disproportionately on low income citizens and families," Volkening said.

  Volkening says in cities where recycling has been tried, it has worked.

  "I think most consumers still don't realize that if they bring their plastic bags back to grocery stores and other stores with canister programs, those bags get recycled," he said, pointing out that recycled plastic bags can be made into a wide variety of plastic products, from luggage to park benches.

  Medina is asking city council for a report on how much a bag ban would cost.  It would ban bags not only at grocery stores, but at all retail establishments like grocery, big box, and department stores, but also from use by dry cleaners.  The ban would not cover food products, you could still get your Big Mac in a bag at the drive throgh.

  Medina is also calling for an end to printing written agendas for City Council activities, and he wants the city's Unified Development Code, which includes all building requirements, to be updated to adhere to the standards of the 2012 International Eenrgy Conservation Code, which Medina says would save the average homeowner $252 per year in energy costs.

  City Council is expected to take up the proposed bag ban in 90 days.

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