In San Antonio, the answer to the timeless question 'paper or plastic' may soon be 'neither.' Because city law forbids it.
The City Council Governance Committee has voted to move forward with a total ban not only of those cheap plastic grocery and big box store bags, but a ban of paper grocery store bags as well.
"We are recommending that staff return to present additional information specifically for a ban of single use carry out bans, for both plastic and paper," City Solid Waste Department Manager David McCary told council.
He says other options were considered, including one that would jack up the cost of going to the grocery store.
"To institute a fee for all single use bags, both plastic and paper, distributed at the point of sale," McCary said.
City staffers said that option, to charge up to $1 to get a 'single use bag' at the grocery store, would be the less effective option, because it would cost money to collect the fee.
McCary said banning the bags is the only truly effective way of stopping the bags from making it into the city's fields, bar ditches and fence posts. Nine percent of all trash being picked up by city employees are plastic bags.
McCary pointed out that a city wide plan to encourage recycling of plastic bags starts this summer.
"Beginning August 1, bundled single use carry out bags, plastic bags, can be recycled in the blue cart program," he said.
City Council is expected to begin debating the bag ban in late May or early June.