Movement to ban plastic bags picking up steam

Fort Worth Star-TelegramAugust 8, 2011 

FORT WORTH -- They call them urban tumbleweeds -- lightweight plastic bags that litter streets, clog drains, pose a danger to wildlife, and get stuck in tree branches and brush.

Community leaders worldwide are looking at ways to shrink the number of plastic bags that litter communities, some considering or enacting bans to stop the bags from being handed out at grocery and convenience stores.

Italy said ciao to plastic bags this year, as did France last year, with stores in both countries only handing out biodegradable bags. In Bellingham, Wash., officials didn't just ban the bags, they also put a fee on paper bags to encourage shoppers to carry reusable bags. And in Washington, D.C., leaders put a fee on every bag -- paper and plastic -- that consumers carry out of stores.

It was San Francisco that first broke ground in the U.S. with a 2007 plastic bag ban; Brownsville enacted Texas' first plastic bag ban this year.

Since then, South Padre Island and Fort Stockton are among other Texas cities to follow suit, and Austin officials last week asked city staff to start writing a ban on plastic bags that might include a ban on paper bags as well.

Closer to home, cities aren't yet weighing in on the issue, but that could change in time.

"You never say never to anything," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, who has asked city staff to show her research they have done on the plastic bag issue. "You never say no."

Paper or plastic?

Read the complete story at star-telegram.com

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