Sunday, May 19, 2013

Plastic Bag Ban: To be discussed at city council Monday night.

The plastic bag banners will be in full force tomorrow night (Monday May 20) at city council chambers.

Councilman Alex Perez has posted a request that the Citizens Environmental Committee prepare an ordinance to ban, or limit, plastic bags.  My guess is they will try to emulate the Austin or Brownsville plastic bag ban ordinances in place.

You will hear of a survey conducted by, either TAMIU, or the Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC).  I am not sure who the actual author of the study is as press releases state that TAMIU assisted the RGISC in the study, but the city council item for Councilman Perez states the study was done by Dr. Manganaro at TAMIU.

It will be interesting to see if anyone on the city council ask to see the details of the study, the questions asked and to whom they were asked.

I wonder if the questions even mentioned the fact that people would have to pay for re-usable bags on their own if a ban is put in place.  Or that they might have to pay a plastic bag tax if they use plastic bags.

As far as a ban on plastic bags, For me, I say no, as the bag ban will not fix Laredo's littering problem, nor will it save the vast amounts of money that I am sure certain folks at the podium will suggest that it does.  If you really look at the amount of trash along our highways and roads, you will see that most of the trash is not single use plastic bags.  In fact, single use plastic bags are a very small percentage of our litter.

However, as I said, I am sure there will be those promising great savings to the city.  I wonder if they are willing to back up those savings claims by asking for a reduction in the city budgets where the savings will occur?  That is the true way to determine if the savings claims are smoke, or the real deal.

As a side note, what will make our ban different than Austin/Brownsville is that our residents will not have cities close by that are not participating in a bag ban.  We will be stuck with having to participate while the people of Austin and Brownsville can just go to a neighboring city to shop.

What say you.


  1. Tom-
    This is interesting...I don't like styrofoam or plastic bags. I've seen a plastic bag-less society work in Germany- but they have a highly organized recycling program implemented at the highest levels. It would be tough to change our convenience culture on a dime- but it would be so great to eliminate waste where we can. In the meantime (regardless of where the proposal goes), it would be wonderful if we all simply tried to re-use the bags we do get/have in some way so they don't just end up in a landfill after a single use.

  2. The solution is not a ban, but education and information on how to reuse the bags.

  3. Tom Wade, I think education is going to be part of the campaign and I know that you've said before that the city should simply enforce the laws that are on the books but plastic bags are very problematic in that no one has actually throw them outside of a trash receptacle, many times they'll simply fly away-and I mean many, many times.
    Their design, light weight and other properties make it easy for them to simply be "Gone with the wind". I'm sure that even you have seen the hundreds of bags that litter our city and cling to fences, brush and countless other places. I am also sure that you would like our city to be a cleaner place. As you drive around the loop, take a look at the brushy areas and it will not be cardboard, aluminum cans or other things that will present an eyesore, it will almost always-renegade plastic bags.

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  5. Has the council ever considered a program where there was an incentive vs a punishment? Like turn your plastic and reusable bags in to the city and get a 5 cent credit towards the purchase of something like a strong canvas bag or a Convenience CRESBI crate (collapsible crate for carrying groceries that lets you pop-n-shop: A CRESBI crate won't fly out of a pickup truck and you can use it to carry other stuff also.

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