Dallas Jumping on Bag Ban-Wagon

The Big Government fiends in Dallas are looking to follow in Austin’s footsteps and implement a ban on “single use” bags.


You may remember that in March, Austin implemented a ban on “single use” carryout bags, requiring the purchase of reusable bags, or a fee for thicker plastic bags upon checkout. More than three months later, residents of Austin are still adjusting to this ban.

Austin was following the lead of cities such as Seattle, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. who have all implemented similar ordinances; and all of which, I’m sure Dallas residents are eager to emulate.

This directive was implemented in the name of environmental consciousness, energy savings, and economics. So far, Austin has found that the amount of litter caused by plastic bags was severely overestimated, as were the savings; and bans of this nature are sometimes less convenient than driving a little farther to stores that do not fall in its jurisdiction.

Still, Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway has proposed a similar ordinance that will:

  • Prohibit businesses from providing single-use carryout bags;
  • Provide construction standards for reusable carryout bags; and,
  • Require signs at retail stores reminding shoppers to bring their own bags, or carry home their purchases.

Similarly to what was adopted in Austin, there will be exemptions including: plastic dry cleaning bags, garbage bags, trashcan liners, newspaper bags, and restaurant carryout.

Caraway has presented his proposal before two city council committees, and has told the Dallas Morning News that he believes it will pass.

There are plenty of surveys done by organizations such as the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), which show the negative impacts these bag bans have on local businesses and economies. Numerous studies by Keep America Beautiful illustrate just how small of a portion of the state’s waste stream (about 0.5%) is made up of these bags. There have been spikes in E. Coli infections, because cloth reusable bags are breeding grounds for dangerous food-borne bacteria. And the City of Austin is currently in a lawsuit with the Texas Retailers Association. But there is one glaring issue that seems to be forgotten: “Bag Bans,” and the like, are plain and simple overbearing government intervention in a free market.

Dallas should think carefully while considering this proposal over the next few months, or it won’t be long before Texas is known as the newest nanny-state on the block.

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