Banning plastic bags


Rising clean-up costs for grocery and retail store bags has encouraged City Councilman Cris Medina to propose a ban on plastic bags for the city of San Antonio.

The ban was proposed last November. A governance committee will consider the issue on Feb. 19 before a ban is proposed to City Council.

According to Councilman Medina’s consideration request, “San Antonio spends nearly $1.3 million per year in controlling single-use carryout bag pollution.”

The request also stated that plastic bag pollution can affect San Antonio’s infrastructure, cost small businesses money and make the city less attractive to visitors.

In cities such as Brownsville, TX, a plastic bag ordinance allows businesses to charge customers a $1 environmental fee if they opt to use plastic bags.

However, specific provisions concerning the ban for San Antonio have yet to be determined.

“I’m in favor of policies that help preserve the environment,” said District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenburg, “but with any new ordinance, we would need to study the consequences before we cast a vote.”

Although the plastic bag ban would limit the distribution of plastic bags in stores and may decrease pollution clean-up costs, the effect the ban would have on businesses is still not conclusive.

“I wouldn’t mind (the ban) because plastic bags are optional,” said Tracy Coward, UC Campus Convenience Store employee.

To students like UTSA psychology major Nailah Brinson, the ban is simple. “I wouldn’t like it exactly because I like things to be in plastic bags,” she said. “I would probably be opposed to the ban.”

Councilman Nirenburg encourages UTSA students to attend public meetings to voice any concerns or requests for further information.

UTSA student Matthew Frost agrees with the ban but is still unsure about what the ban could mean for San Antonio and its college campuses.

“Though the ban on plastic bags is a step in the right direction environmentally,” Frost said, “an immediate ban with no transitional period would cause many problems, perhaps outweighing the benefit.”