- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

DALLAS (AP) - While a Dallas city ordinance charging for carryout bags has been repealed, some residents and supermarkets remained hopeful that the short-lived rule will prompt people in the long run to shift to reusable bags.

The Dallas City Council was prompted to repeal the nickel-a-bag fee in part by a lawsuit from bag manufacturers and an opinion on the ordinance from the Texas attorney general’s office, The Dallas Morning News reported (https://bit.ly/1G1DoRk ) Saturday.

The ordinance, which went into effect Jan. 1, was repealed on June 3.

The short-lived program’s primary aim was to reduce litter from flyaway plastic bags. But it also brought the city more than $580,000 in fees.

Kris Sweckard, director of code compliance for the city, said there’s no way to tell whether the ordinance had any lasting effect on plastic bag use or litter.

Inspectors checked on more than 2,300 possible violations, according to city records, and issued hundreds of violation notices - in effect, warnings. No one got a formal citation carrying the prospect of a fine.

The bag ordinance had its share of problems when it was first implemented. Stores had to change cashiering systems to tally the 5-cent city fee and they had to produce signs - in both English and Spanish - about the fee requirement.

Phil Rozenski, director of sustainability for Novolex, a bag manufacturing firm that sued over the fee, called the ordinance one of the worst he’s seen, from the perspective of affected businesses.

Kroger spokesman Gary Huddleston said bag use at the supermarket chain’s Dallas stores declined about 25 to 30 percent while the fee was in effect.

“Customers have gotten used to using reusable bags in the city of Dallas,” Huddleston said, “and we hope that will continue.”

The bag fee prompted resident Edgar Edwards, 28, to start using reusable bags and he would probably keep using them.

Tara Hafertepe, 25, never switched to reusable. But Hafertepe said she made sure items were consolidated into fewer plastic bags.


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

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