City officials have made this much clear: a plastic bag ban, a la Austin and any number of California cities, will be coming to Dallas -- eventually. Just last month, assistant city manager Jill Jordan told the City Council that Dallas is "maybe a year or two" away from considering such a measure. Because it's been only five years since the proposal was first floated, hardly enough time to conduct the proper studies and stockpile legal fees.
Councilman Dwaine Caraway is tired of waiting. As the Morning News reported yesterday, Caraway has demanded that City Attorney Tom Perkins draft an ordinance "immediately." This after Austin became the first Texas city to do away with the diaphanous polyethelene totes, banning them from restaurants, grocery stores, and other retailers.
"We're going to deal with it," he told the paper. "It's something I think will make our city a cleaner city, and all the stores have to do is figure out another way to bag their stuff."
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Caraway's concern is less with any continent-sized masses of accumulated plastic swirling about the ocean than with the discarded, windblown sacks that get caught in fences and trees and clog gutters.
Nor does he think customers should be forced to buy their own reusable sacks.
"I think it should be the responsibility of the grocery store to provide the types of bags that are environmentally friendly, and do not trash up the neighborhood and the community," Caraway said.
Of course, customers would end up paying either way, through direct purchase of the bags or through higher prices. But that's all academic at this point. First the City Council would have to pass something. And it had better do it before attention-seeking freshman lawmakers force any Shopping Bag Freedom Acts through the legislature.