Plastic Grocery Bag Ban Support Lacking at Dallas City Hall

Support was lacking for a plastic grocery bag ban at Dallas City Hall Wednesday after more than a year of discussion in committees.

Dallas councilman Dwaine Caraway is pushing the ban to fight plastic bag litter. A briefing Wednesday with the full 15-member city council was his chance to find support.

“You can’t have it both ways,” Caraway said. “If we’re going to protect the environment, if we want to consider and celebrate green initiatives, then we’ve got to be green.”

Environmentalists have been supporting Caraway’s push while retailers are opposed.

“We think that the solution to litter is a strong recycling program of both paper and plastic bags,” said Kroger spokesman Gary Huddleston.

Caraway was the only passionate supporter of a plastic bag ban at Wednesday’s meeting while several council members were strongly opposed.

“We don’t have that problem,” said Councilman Sheffie Kadane. “I don’t see it in my district. People are calling me telling me don’t do it.”

“Government is always getting into the business of telling business what to do. It’s their business,” said councilman Rick Callahan.

Several members spoke in favor of a fee on single use bags in stores as an alternative to a ban. The single use bag fee could encourage customers to switch to reusable bags and produce a revenue source for litter clean up while preserving the option for customers.

“How often do we come to a place on an issue that is this divisive where we have a central compromise, where all sides are going to say I can support that,” council member Sandy Greyson said. “So lets explore a fee lets see how we can make that work.”

There was no vote taken Wednesday’s but city lawyers will draft a new proposed ordinance using input they received at the meeting for a possible vote in a few weeks.

Caraway still said he hopes to pass a ban but the compromise fee seems more likely.

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