DALLAS -– After 13 months of debate and discussion, Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway told News 8 that he has enough votes to pass a partial ban on plastic bags customers get from grocery stores and convenience markets.
“On Wednesday, the 26th, this will be history. We do have the votes. We will pass it. We'll begin to make Dallas a clean and green comfortable city," he said during a taping of WFAA-TV’s Inside Texas Politics to air Sunday morning at 9 a.m.
City council takes a vote next Wednesday morning.
The main ordinance under consideration is not an outright ban on plastic bags, but rather a partial one.
Customers will have to start paying for plastic bags -- either $0.10 for each one or $1.00 per transaction, according to the ordinance released Friday afternoon. Businesses would decide which one customers pay.
"That money will probably go to a clean-up, and it's not for me to decide at this particular point. The full council will decide what to do and how that needs to be distributed," Caraway said. "But at the end of the day, it's going to be about education and clean-up."
But the ordinance says stores can keep up to half of the fees they collect to offset costs of collection, if they “educate customers on environmental stewardship” and if they offer customers rebates of $0.05 per reusable bag the customer brings in.
"I don't think it's our place to dictate to our vendors and our store owners how they operate their business," said Councilman Sheffie Kadane.
He still opposes it.
So do grocery chains and the Texas Retailers Association.
They want existing litter laws enforced and say the Dallas ordinance only picks on plastic without addressing paper, aluminum cans, or any other litter.
"What's going to be the difference in a paper bag being thrown out and a plastic bag? The same people that throw the plastic bag is going to throw the paper out," Kadane said.
Council members will also have two alternative ordinances to consider – an outright ban and one dubbed the “responsible retailer.”
The second option lets businesses register their stores, pay $55 per location, and provide statistics on the number of single-use bags given out and collected for recycling. In addition, this ordinance requires businesses to print their name on all single-use bags, train staff on bag reduction strategies, and collect bags from their parking lots, among other things.
If a partial ban passes next week, it would not take effect until January 15, 2015.