Something is going to happen to Dallas' plastic bag fee, one way or another. The minimum 5 cent charge for a carryout plastic bag has already led to the city getting sued, it might be illegal and, at least to certain people in Dallas, is not even close to being an effective enough stick to get us to rem ember our reusable bags when we go grocery shopping.
In the midst of a fight to either get rid of the ordinance entirely or change it to an outright ban of the bags, the city has released data showing one thing the ban has been effective at doing: raising money.
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For each plastic bag an establishment subject to the ordinance sells, Dallas gets 4.5 cents. The store gets to keep half a penny, or more if it charges more than a nickel for the bags. Businesses have to cut the city in once a quarter, hence the first tangible, financial results of the ban were not announced until late last week.
So far, the city has taken in $520,300 in bag fees. The city also released information about the enforcement of the bag fee. To date, not a single store has been given a citation for failing to follow the ordinance, although 566 notices of violation (read: warnings) have been given out. Thirty-seven people have complained to the city about some aspect of the ordinance, leading to 38 inspections. More than 870 proactive inspections have been made since the fee's January 1 implementation.