The City of Dallas has issued a partial ban on those disposable plastic grocery store bags, as pressure is mounting on the City of San Antonio to approve similar legislation, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved a measure that will allow retailers to charge up to five cents for every 'single use' disposable plastic bag which is taken by a customer. The idea is to encourage customers to switch to reusable cloth or canvas bags when they go to the supermarket or a big box store.
Austin already has a bag law, and Hill Abel, who owns a bicycle sport shop in the Capital City, says rather than being a financial burden, the law has actually saved him money.
"My bag costs have gone down by about 75%," he said. "The overwhelming number of my customers have embraced the bag ban.'
A bag ban received lots of negative reaction when it was presented to a group of San Antonio business owners three weeks ago and has been 'withdrawn' for further review. The proposal that was on the table would have outlawed the use of the plastic bags entirely.
Abel says there is no doubt that the bag bans not only keep his city cleaner, but the bans are a boon to business.
"In the two or three years before the bag ban, I was handing out more than 8,000 plastic bags a year," he said. "Since the ban has gone into effect, I have used fewer than 1500 bags."
He says that means he doesn't have to purchase the bags, a cost which is not reimbursed by sales.
Another problem facing bag ban supporters is a request by the Texas Retailers Association for an Attorney General's opinion on whether locally originated bag bans are legal in Texas.
There is a belief that an eighties-era law, which was passed by the Legislature to prevent those 'can and bottle deposit laws' from spreading to Texas actually forbids cities from charging extra for 'containers.'
Robin Schneider of the Texas Campaign for the Environment says that is such a separate issue it shouldn't even be considered in this context.
"We want the Attorney General to not issue an opinion at all, that would be fine with us," she said. "Or to say, yes, under state law this (a bag ban) is perfectly fine."
It is not a minor issue. The reason the 'can ban' in New Braunfels was rejected was because the Legislature ruled that states, not cities or counties, have the authority to regulate what takes place on the state's rivers.