South Padre Island will soon become the second city in Texas and 16th area in the U.S. to ban single-use plastic carryout bags.
The town's city council voted unanimously Jan. 5 to ban plastic bags, first on a voluntary basis, starting Feb. 1, and then on a mandatory basis Jan. 1, 2012. The ban will become law if the council approves the measure again at its second vote, set for Jan. 19.
We are partnering up with our businesses to reduce the negative impact plastic bags have on our beautiful South Padre Island and Laguna Madre area, said Victor Baldovinos, environmental health director for South Padre Island, in a statement issued by the city.
We have a duty to protect our natural environment and I believe residents as well as our many visitors expect us to take the steps necessary to do so, said Alita Bagley, South Padre city councilwoman and sponsor of the ordinance, in a Jan. 6 statement. This is one more step we have taken to further show our commitment to protecting our environment.
In Brownsville, Texas, a de facto ban on single-use plastic carryout bags went into effect Jan. 5. Stores will no longer be able to purchase plastic bags to hand out to customers, but will be able to sell their existing stock of plastic bags, at a price of $1.99, until those supplies are depleted.
Stores in South Padre Island will only be able to hand out paper bags and compostable non-petroleum-based plastic bags, or sell reusable bags after the ban becomes mandatory.
The compostable bags must be certified under ASTM International biodegradability standards, and differentiated from single-use plastic bags by color. Paper bags must have at least 40 percent recycled content and display the words reusable and recyclable.
Including Brownsville, 16 communities in the U.S. have plastic bag bans. In addition, Washington, D.C., has had a 5-cent tax on plastic and paper bags at checkout since Jan. 1, 2010.