See that wad of plastic? That is the result of buying around $25 of groceries in the ‘hood and neglecting to bring reusable bags. I do it all the time. Two years ago, I made a resolution to always remember grocery bags. But no. I don’t go to the gym four times a week, and I almost never bring my own bags to Fiesta, where it’s like some sackers have to use a separate flimsy bag for practically every item. So, so many one-time-use plastic bags. I’m sorry, Oak Cliff; I’m part of the problem.
The solution to my selfishness could be the city ordinance proposed this week by City Councilman Dwaine Caraway to ban the bags.
Two Texas cities, Brownsville and Austin, already have banned one-time-use plastic bags because they cause litter, harm wildlife and can clog drainage systems. Americans use about 1 trillion of them every year.
A Republican lawmaker from North Texas, however, wants to keep these urban tumbleweeds rolling.
State Rep. Drew Springer has proposed a ban on the ban. His proposal in the Texas House of Representatives would nullify any city ordinance that banned plastic bags. He for real calls it, “The Shopping Bag Freedom Act.”
Springer, who is from Muenster, argues that such bans are unfair to Texans who cannot afford bags and that reusable bags pose a health risk because some people don’t know about hygiene and food safety. Springer also employs the “nanny state” argument that governments shouldn’t mandate common sense.
Those arguments seem a little hollow from a political party that so frequently makes the case for local control. Why should the state be allowed to trump a Dallas city ordinance that would result in less waste?
The more believable story is that this waste is profitable for a big company with ties to North Texas. North Carolina-based recycling company Hilex Poly is working to keep plastic bags in our lives. The company, which has outposts in Garland and Carrollton, has launched a campaign called Bag the Ban. Hilex Poly argues that “any tax on plastic bags would endanger plastic recycling and impact our nation’s global competitiveness.” In other words, it’s unamerrcun.
So when you see me at Fiesta, loading bags on bags on bags into my trunk, just remember. Patriotism.