- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

DALLAS (AP) - An environmentally friendly bag ordinance takes effect Jan. 1 and Dallas retailers are joining customers in trying to figure out how it works.

The law approved in March by the Dallas City Council requires retailers to charge for most single-use carryout bags, The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday (https://bit.ly/13MYxUd ).

The measure basically requires retail customers to pay a 5-cent fee per plastic or paper bag used. Exemptions include dry cleaning bags and most restaurant takeout bags.

“This ordinance will … protect our environment and our economy,” City Councilman Dwayne Caraway said at recent news conference.

Critics say some provisions of the nickel-a-bag ordinance are confusing and costly.

“It scares us to death,” said Steve Levine, owner of Midway Auto Supply, a three-store chain in Dallas.

Unlike many similar ordinances in other cities, the Dallas law establishes minimum material standards not just for reusable bags, but also for single-use ones.

Retailers must print their business names and the bag’s thickness on single-use bags. The ordinance requires single-use bags to be thicker than those used by many big retail chains. The higher thickness standard is intended to reduce the need for double-bagging, city officials say.

The ordinance also requires that reusable bags include a message saying they can be reused or recycled. But some such bags, easily recognizable as reusable, only have that information on the price tag.

Store owners risk fines of $500 per day if they fail to comply.

“We’re not going to be fining people on Day One,” said Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan. “We are going to be educating people.”

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, https://www.dallasnews.com


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