How Dallas bagged a great anti
“There he goes again,” was the sentiment I received when I first suggested the City of Dallas should take urgent measures to address the plastic bags that were trashing our neighborhoods. Yes, I’m the one who said “pull up your sagging pants.” Yes, I’ve said we should look at putting a Riverwalk down Main Street. And yes, I was now suggesting that we ban the distribution of certain carryout bags in our city. The idea was met with sneers and jeers. It wasn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last.
My premise was and continues to be very simple: The flimsy bags being handed ou michael kors outlet online t at grocery and convenience sto michael kors o michael kors outlet online utlet online res hurt the quality of life for Dallas residents. Drive down the street and you’ll see plastic bags hanging on trees, gathered on fences and blowing across the road like tumbleweed in West Texas. It’s well documented that many of these bags end up in our rivers, streams and lakes, harming fish, birds and other wildlife.
My first thought was a total ban on single use carryout bags in the city of Dallas. That’s what I proposed to the Quality of Life Committee last year and what I asked city attorneys to look at when drafting an ordinance for the City Council to consider.
But once I studied the issue more and listened to my colleagues, environmentalists, retailers and bag manufacturers, I realized there may be alternative means to reach the ultimate goal of ridding ourselves of the nuisance these bags can cause. This led to a healthy, and sometimes heated, discussion because of the many points of view brought forth by those who were involved.
It’s not always easy for elected officials to compromise. Egos often get in the way, and in this case I had to put my ego to the side for the good of the people. In the end, I yielded to those who suggested a 5 cent fee on single use bags in lieu of a total ban. Seven of my colleagues and I joined together, not all for the same reason, to pass the carryout bag ordinance that will go into effect on Jan. 15.
City staffers michael kors outlet online have already started crafting an education campaign to let shoppers and businesses know which types of bags will be subject to the environmental fee. A portion of the fees collected on carryout bags will be used to pay for this campaign as well as the enforcement of the ordinance.
Here’s the deal: All retailers that offer single use carryout bags in Dallas are subject to the ordinance that was passed by the council. But not all bags are subject to a fee; there are exemptions.
Dry cleaning bags, newspaper bags, trash bags and certain prescription bags will not require a fee. Customers won’t have to pay for recyclable paper bags used to take home food from restaurants or bags used for produce, meats, grains and other items collected inside the stores.
Between now and next year we need to ensure that we push this message out to shoppers and retailers so that everyone understands the process and can be ready to help keep our city clean.
Even with predictions of doom and gloom, we know that this ordinance can and will work. When the Dallas City Council passed our bag ordinance, we joined fellow Texans in Austin, Laredo, Brownsville, Kermit and South Padre Island who have passed similar measures. Many big retailers have had to account for bags and collect fees in other cities already. Now they’ll have to do so in Dallas.
In the end, this is a victory for Dallas, showing that we want our city to look good and we want to be good stewards of the environment and our resources. We won’t be able to pick up all the bags, but simple math tells us we should have fewer bags to pick up as a result of this ordinance.