Dallas Won't Ban Plastic Bags at Stores, But You'll Have to Start Paying for Them

Categories: City Hall

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The bloodless but brutal Plastic Bag War of 2013-14 has finally come to a close. The final battle, waged primarily through hyperbole and terrible metaphor, came today with the Dallas City Council ultimately voting 8-6 to impose a fee on single-use carryout bags at most retail stores.

Under the ordinance, retailers will be able to keep giving out single-use plastic and paper bags, but they have to register with the city and charge customers a nickel for each bag. They will get to keep 10 percent of the fee, rather than the 50 percent originally proposed, to offset the cost of the program.

So, is this an unreasonable encroachment on private business? A capitulation to deep-pocketed retailers who fought like hell to avoid a ban? A shining example of compromise? A failure of leadership on the part of the City Council? City staff? The general public?

See also: Dallas Set to Decide on Plastic Bag Ban on Wednesday

Depending on which council member you listened to, it was all of those things.

"The enemy is us," said Councilman Rick Callahan who, along with Sheffie Kadane, dismissed any attempt at banning plastic bags as anti-business. "We the people. There's no accountability. There's no responsibility at all."

Or, as Far North Dallas representative Lee Kleinman suggested, maybe it's the people in certain council districts (he referenced the area Southwest Center Mall), since plastic-bag litter isn't a problem in his. Perhaps city staff missed a "great opportunity ... to lead the council just like you lead a cow to a desired result," as Jerry Allen suggested.

On the other side was Sandy Greyson, who praised council's willingness to compromise. "That is highly unusual around this building on a highly contentious issue," she said. Scott Griggs called the litter "a large elephant that we have to take on as a council as a city, one bite at a time."

The city plans to roll out the plastic-bag fee with a $250,000 public-education campaign, paid for from existing city funds. It will take effect on January 1, 2015. It's possible the city will get sued.

None of the council members was completely satisfied with the final outcome, but, as the vote suggests, a majority consider plastic-bag litter an issue that needs to be addressed directly by the council. It's easier and more cost effective to keep them from being put into circulation than to clean them up after the fact.

"Who's going to climb the tree who's going to climb the barbed wire fence to take the bag off the barbed wire fence?" Caraway wondered. "If indeed we leave that bag that is not biodegradeable and flying in that tree, what's going to happen when his cousin shows up? And the next bag? And the next?"

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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150 comments
noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

I just heard a guy on the radio who said this ordinance was a disaster in terms of organized legislation.  But, he also said that passing a bag limitation tax demanding money from consumers to solve a littering problem in South Dallas is like making him pay for a vasectomy because people in South Dallas are having too many babies.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

This idiotic ordinance is going to drive more shoppers to the Park Cities.  University Park has two Tom Thumb stores, and Highland Park has one.  So, this will hurt Dallas businesses.

 

 But, worse than that, this ordinance transmits to the world that Dallas is no longer a leader in industry and free enterprise, but is becoming a follower of liberal dogma and Left-leaning "feel good trends" that produce nothing but bigger government and higher taxes.

This bag charge IS a tax!   Since the bags were already paid for by customers, this is a tax on they type of bag.

Caraway was either intentionally being deceptive, or he doesn't know a tax from his set of Jax.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

Kroger is going to remove bag recycle bins at its eight stores in the city of Dallas.  Can't have free bags available if Dallas is to make 4 cents a bag profit.   

Voot
Voot

Well, I for one will be returning all my plastic bags to Councilman Caraway's district.

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

why you thieving bastards. it never was about cleaning up the city. it was always about stealing more money from the citizens. i hope you rot your sorry asses in prison for something you didn't even do.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

What morons on the Dallas City Council - other than Caraway - don't understand that we, as customers of stores, ALREADY PAY FOR THE PLASTIC BAGS USED TO CARRY PURCHASES OUT!?!  Who did they think paid for them?  Santa, The Easter Bunny, or the Retail Bunny?


Customers pay for ALL costs of a business.  So, we already pay for the bags as part of the point of sale price for smaller retail goods.  


This is a tax!  Another tax!  And, it will slowly go up until it chokes consumers and causes the loss of jobs for many employees. 

Meanwhile, people in South and West Dallas will continue to litter until we run out of products to ban or charge more for.  

Who wants to live in Dallas with it continuously looking more like Chicago without the lake, but the same lousy schools, corrupt politicians, and goofy city council?!?



I DO think this tax will hurt those least able to pay it - or pay with food stamps - so at least they will be more concerned about litter --- NOT.

eccphd
eccphd

It's time to get those leeches out of office.  If people were seen throwing bags in public places, perhaps they should be fined.  But that doesn't happen because the policemen turn their heads the other way.

rroyb
rroyb

I must admit that I don't understand all of the negative comments (just kidding) - it seems to me that government should promote things like this (even though a baby step) that are for the common good.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

This is complete idiocy, and I suspect a private transfer of remuneration.  The problem is not - and has never been - the objects of litter.  Rather, it is the habit and poor behavior of littering with anything; bags, fast-food wrappers, Styrofoam cups, etc.   It is also a problem mostly in South Dallas.  You don't see it hardly at all in North Dallas, East Dallas, downtown, or in places where people believe in keeping the area clean. 


This is a clear indication of the lack of competency of many on the Dallas City Council.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

Taxes and restrictions typically start out small and have a habit of growing over time.

bryanr01
bryanr01

Since Wal-Mart already puts one item in each bag, that will be a good profit center for them. 

Americano
Americano

Watching the City of Dallas work is like watching a monkey fuck a football.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Even at expensive Central Market, reusable totes are sold for $1.99 each.  They will pay for themselves quickly, so just go ahead and do it.  Plastic water bottles.  Fill reusable ones with tap water.  We survived without French spring water before, we can do it again.  This isn't the end of the world the way the anti-environmentalists portray it to be. 

DMZ3
DMZ3

Y'all should've just banned them like Austin, Brownsville and Fort Stockton.

tdkisok
tdkisok

Five cents a bag? My God!! How will we be able to afford that?  

hilllbillle
hilllbillle

i believe that thieving bastard represents my area. please don't throw them in my yard.

ruthellaowens
ruthellaowens

@noblefurrtexas You all seem to forget the stupidity of the council before Caraway, which made us use plastic garbage bags sans garbage can for curb pickup. They forgot to round up all the critters who just love tearing into said bags. 

I am surprised at any of you who have lived here for a while, I am a lifelong Dallasite, 57 years. I have yet to see anything resembling a sensible move by our Mayor and Council. The current Mayor has meddled in Museum Tower, domestic violence, Uber, Home Rule, etc. The Council is busy taking land from a soccer field owner and lending too much money for a land purchase across from Veterans Hospital. About a half million, I think and paying too much to the City Manager. 

Caraway has one dumb move after another. Pants on the Ground, etc. Remember the proposed taking of a baseball field near the Arboretum? 

I can't even describe the travesty going on in my neighborhood, land never coming up for sale, while giving it away to certain insiders. There are so many crooks at work where I live, it just sends me back to bed. We can't even run the Farmer's Market and Fair Park!

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@eccphd Precisely!  If it's against the law to litter, then the law should be enforced!


Instead, Caraway and company are going to tax us even more, raise the prices of small retail goods and pharmaceuticals, and tax businesses already operating on slim margins. 


This is a waste of time, money, manpower, and public service time.  But, some on the Dallas City Council ain't all that bright that they can figure it out.  (Yet, these same people want a RAISE of their own compensation!)

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bryan

It's likely folks who shop walmart will pay a little more attention to that practice.

Expect delays as consumers demand re-bagging or attempt to themselves. Also expect as a result more crushed items, split bags and the like.

A simple nickel deposit, that's all that was needed. The most environmentally, consumer and bum-friendly solution. IOW, something most pols actively seek to avoid.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Americano That is one of my favorite sayings, and very appropriate in this situation.

kduble
kduble

@bvckvsIt's a voluntary tax, like the lottery. You can choose not to participate.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz It appears to me you are clueless about business.  And, a $1.99 bag actually costs about #2.15 (depending).  That's 43 nickels, and I have to cart the things around in my car or plan my shopping trips like a pickup service!


All the environmental whackos want to do is limit our freedom, and charge me for people in South Dallas who litter their own already trashed neighborhoods.

kduble
kduble

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz You get them free at public events. Just start walking around the booths. They'll load you up with stuff.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Myrna.Minkoff-Katz Being against the bag ban does not make one an anti-environmentalist.  I carry the single use bags in my truck all the time.  When I go to the park alongside the old Lake Lemmon or fishing at one of the lakes, I will often leave with 4 or 5 bags full of other people's trash I have picked up.  I asked the City wonks at McCommas bluff if I could tip for free if I was pulling the bigger trash off the Lake Lemmon trail, but they denied me.  Pretty good indicator that the City's motivation for the bag ordinance has nothing to do with being environmentally conscious.  They just want the damn money.

kduble
kduble

@tdkisok They don't have to. They can bring back their bags and pay nothing.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@tdkisok The government already keeps prices for agricultural products (Dairy, meat, eggs, produce, etc) artificially high through various farm subsidies (whole herd buyouts, acreage reduction programs, parity pricing, and the list goes on and on).  This doesn't primarily benefit the anecdotal small family farm, which is becoming more and more rare, rather it subsidizes profit for huge agricultural corporations like Monsanto and vast Co-ops.

As a result we have to have programs to give money to the poor so they can afford to buy the artificially high priced foodstuffs.  Now, we want to tax them additionally, for the means they use to get the food from store to car/bus/train and then to home.

Will 5 cents a bag bust my budget?  No, it won't.  Then again, I budget out two to three years and live very frugally.  Also, I don't have kids in the house anymore.  When I had all the kids in the home, and was making a private's pay in the Army, yes it would have made a difference.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@ruthellaowens @noblefurrtexasI pretty much agree with you.  The current mayor, a very liberal Democrat who ran as a conservative, is in the mold of Barack Obama.  He makes up rules and laws, doesn't respect the Council-Manager form of government, and doesn't care to realize he's just another council member. 


The Dallas Council mold of the 60s was the one that propelled out city into worldwide acclaim, and that won the the 1984 Republican Convention along with the Homebuilders Show and other coveted gatherings. 


In fact, we frequently got awards for "Best Managed City".  (That hasn't happened in a while.)


This bag tax is totally useless, will not reduce littler, and is like reducing the number of blue blankets to prevent more male babies being born.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@kduble @bvckvsIf I have to go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine and several items, am I supposed to take off my shirt and carry the products out in it?  


I've already paid for the bags, so I might was well use them - even though Caraway and company want to tax me more on them. 


That's what elections are for !!!!

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

@RTGolden1  Wrong.  5 cents in the Fifties bought something.  Today, 99 cents barely buys anything.  So, spare us the drama.

tdkisok
tdkisok

@ScottsMerkin


Please. That is the silliest argument I've heard in a while. A poor family will use 4-5 bags. That's 20-25 cents. They will also probably make sure that the store also doesn't use one bag for 1-2 items which is what clerks at places like Kroger and WalMart do.  

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@PlanoDav

"swampy" is specific to Eco-nuts.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@TheRuddSki I have always heard it "Sod off, wanker", but that was from my Aussie friends.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@casiepierce

The proper internet-accepted response is "Shut The FUCK Up".

Alternately, the Eco-friendly STFU is acceptable.

Personally, I prefer Sod Off, Swampy.

noblefurrtexas
noblefurrtexas topcommenter

@kduble @bvckvsYou don't understand business or bagging. 


Customers already pay for the bags.  And, it doesn't make good sense to over-stuff a bag to save a nickel.  This is a tax on me so people in South Dallas won't litter their own neighborhoods!

TheJeremyAdams
TheJeremyAdams

@kww84 @bvckvs @kduble  Or bring your own bags and you can still eat.  Don't be such an imbecile.  reusable bags are $1 so after 20 disposable one's it's paid for.  Or reuse your glut of disposable bags, it's your choice.


kww84
kww84

@bvckvs @kduble  Because sustenance is a matter of choice too when it comes to liberals.  Eat or die, they won't care.

kduble
kduble

@bvckvs I'm referring to buying bags. The consumer will be able to buy as many or as few as preferred, including none at all. It's an optional purchase.

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@alteredjustice @ScottsMerkin@tdkisokI love it when the have's sit on high and tell the have-nots why they have naught.  The only thing more obvious than your arrogance is your dislocation from reality.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@tdkisok @ScottsMerkin  You are obviously fortunate enough to have never been poor.  I can remember when a quarter was the difference between when I could have a candy bar and when I couldn't.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@tdkisok so you are saying pennies dont matter?  Seems they do to the grocery stores, they sure wanted to keep a portion of the fee. 

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