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Exploratory on Plastic Bag Ban

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Since the last decade there has been a push on society, in the United States and elsewhere, to recycle, reduce and reuse. One resource that is used thousands times a day and billion times a year is the plastic bag. Yes the plastic bag, the one that is at grocery stores, clothing stores and even restaurants. Several cities have even started to implement to some degree the plastic bag ban into their cities meaning the bags are banned from that city or there is a fine/ tax to use and purchase the plastic bags.

This ban obviously has its supporters who agree with the ban and like the idea of reducing and banning the plastic use in their cities and there are the non supports who don’t think this ban is a good idea because of infection and several other problems. However, there is one other side, the manufacturers of the plastic bags and how they feel about the bans is starting to take place across America and the world.

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Is a ban on plastic bags really an answer to this problem that could be affecting each city in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area differently?

Under the plastic bag ban each city votes to decide if the ban will be put into effect if it is brought to the cities attention by the congress people. From there the city once again votes to completely get rid of plastic bags or to just reduce the use by having a tax or fine on the plastic bags. Although this process may take several weeks to months to years to be put in place, several cities have taken the stance for the ban like San Francisco in California, Portland in Oregon, Mexico City in Mexico, Modbury in England, Delhi in India and many more. Focusing just on the Dallas/ Fort Worth area though there has been one congress member in particular that has continuously had a fight to get the city of Dallas to even consider the plastic bag ban, Dwaine Caraway.

Caraway was the previous mayor of Dallas in 2011 and started presenting to the city council in Dallas the plastic bag ban idea in March of 2013. He stated in a Dallas Morning News article written by Robert Wilonsky that “it’s something I think will make our city a cleaner city, and all the stores have to do is figure out another way to bag their stuff”. But council member Caraway is not the only person in Dallas that supports this ban. There is an article in the Dallas Morning News by Tegan Hanlon that shows the pros of having this ban. Diego Contreras took out his boat on the Elm fork of the Trinity River while talking to Hanlon and had to untangle his boat from weathered bags before heading off on the river. The ban would help keep rivers cleaner with fewer plastic bags that float into the banks and low hanging foliage.

Hanlon also talked with director of Groundwork, Peter Payton. Payton and his crew help clean up the river, he said “in the past three years the organization has helped picked up about 80 tons of litter along the Trinity River and its bottomland hardwood forest, all of the trash from all of these people ends up right here”. Even with volunteers the City of Dallas’ Park and Recreation Department spends millions of dollars a year to help enhance the appearance of the city. When Hanlon was talking with the Assistant Director of Dallas’ Park and Recreation Department, John Jenkins, Jenkins said the “department maintains more than 21,000 park acres on a $24 million maintenance budget, about $3 million reserved for anti-litter operations”. Jenkins went on to talk about the hours volunteers put in and he said it was over five thousand hours which is an all-time high for the city.

Many citizens of Dallas believe there is more reason to reduce the use of plastic bags not just because of litter but also the cost, what it does to the environment and the health factors associated with the plastic bags. There are also people just as passionate about the opposition of the plastic bag ban not going through in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. According to author Emily Toman of Advocate Magazine in Dallas, 3,000 people have signed a petition against the plastic bag ban in Dallas as of August 2013 and will be later debated in the city hall meeting. When Toman talked to the president of the Texas Retailers Association, Gary Huddleston, he said the ban “threatens Dallas-area jobs and canvas reusable bags have been known to increase theft at stores as well as the material has been linked to health issues”. The Boy Scouts of America, Goowill and the North Texas Food Banks are not supports of this ban and have asked society to remember why we have these bags. Years ago when you went to the grocery store, grocers would bag groceries for the customers in paper bags.

The paper bags were costing a lot of trees to be cut down as well as a lot of money to make them. Later on the grocery stores started to offer “paper or plastic” and this slowly lead to grocery store carrying mostly plastic bags because it was easier on the environment and more cost efficient for the stores to buy. Now the question seems to be arising if we will be going back to those paper bags. Robert Wilonsky, an author at the Dallas Morning News spoke with boy the Boy Scouts of America, Goodwill and the North Texas Food Banks and they want others to learn of “the unintended consequences” of a plastic bag ban in the Dallas and Fort Worth areas. Another strong point the government waste organizations wants to make is that these plastic bags account for less than the hazardous waste people are putting into our landfill every day that does not break down into our Earth like paint, toner and light bulbs. The largest plastic manufacture in the United States, Hilex Poly, has a view on this plastic bag ban as well.

Plastic bags today are made from biodegradable materials which can deterioration naturally and prevent a build-up of toxic plastic bags in landfills and our environment according to the Hilex Poly website. The company has started something even better though than more trash in the cities. Now Hilex Poly is reusing the plastic bags they make to make more plastic bags therefore promoting grocery stores all across America to recycle and help cut costs to make the bags. Having this new recycling program in place Hilex Poly says they can prevent taxing on the bags and keep in bags around without having to pay to use them. Sadly, this is not the only fight several plastic bag production companies have to deal with. The more plastic bag bans that happen in the United States and around the world the fewer jobs there will be for the people who work for these plastic bag companies.

Works Citied:
Hanlon, Tegan. “Opposing Sides Weigh Pros, Cons of a Plastic Bag Ban in Dallas.” Dallas News. Dallas Morning News, 02 Jul. 2013. Web. 30 Oct. 2013. Toman, Emily. “Plastic Bag Ban in Dallas Would Cost Money and Jobs Retailers Say.” Lakewood.advocatemag.com. Advocate, 08 Aug. 2013. Web. 31 Oct. 2013. Wilonsky, Robert. “Dwaine Caraway Wants Dallas to Ban Plastic Bags, as Austin Has.” Dallas News. Dallas Morning News, 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 22 Oct. 2013.

Cite this Exploratory on Plastic Bag Ban

Exploratory on Plastic Bag Ban. (2016, Jun 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/exploratory-essay-on-plastic-bag-ban/

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