The city of Brownsville is likely to become the first city in Texas to effectively ban the use of both plastic and paper single use grocery store bags next January 1. That’s when an ordinance passed by the city goes into effect. The new law does not prohibit the use of such bags, but rather assesses a $1 per bag surcharge. Critics say that the charge amounts to a de facto ban. The Brownsville Herald recently reported that the surcharge will not apply to heavier multi-use plastic and paper bags with handles.
Issues surrounding the surcharge are compounded since Brownsville is home to a paper bag manufacturing company that employees close to 200 local residents. Duro Bag Manufacturing Company of Florence, Kentucky originally opposed the ban, but city officials claim that the company has been receptive to their efforts to address company concerns.
The American Chemistry Council, a leading lobbyist for plastic and chemical manufacturers, conducted a survey that shows 51% of Brownsville residents prefer repealing or delaying the surcharge with 28% approving of it.
Survey results don’t mesh with comments gleaned from shoppers during a trial run “bagless” day in late August, however. According to city officials, most area residents are receptive to the change, citing less litter as a primary benefit.
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