Sunday, April 20, 2014

Laredo's plastic bag ordinance: The devil's in the details

Once again, from the Monday, April 21, 2014 Laredo city council meeting agenda:

C. Request by Council Member Cynthia Liendo 
1. Status report on the plastic bag ordinance, with possible action.

Hmmm, not much information on this one.  We know that the city council did pass a plastic bag reduction ordinance last year but left many of the details blank. For one thing, the ordinance seeks to reduce plastic bag usage in the Gateway City, not ban it.  In the process, the question has become whether to bring about a reduction by charging a per-bag fee or a flat fee regardless of how many plastic bags will be issued.

Understandbly, the biggest grocery stores such as HEB have long made it known that they would prefer a flat fee, (say $1.00) per customer per visit.  This is preferred because that way the merchant does not have to keep track of how many bags they will need for each particular customer/visit.  However, this may not necessarily do much for the purpose of reducing the number of plastic bags used in our city. If this route is taken, Laredoans can expect to see about the same number of plastic bags strewn all over town resulting in an offending eyesore to all.

The LaredoTejas editorial board has determined that the more effective method of reducing the number of those annoying fly-away plastic bags is to instead charge a per-bag fee.  This way, people who have a great deal of groceries in their cart might want to avoid paying a few extra dollars for so many plastic bags and start thinking twice about taking along their reusable bags.


  1. With all the chaos going on at check-out lines, it would make sense to charge a flat fee to move the process along. I wouldn't want some distracted teenager having to do algebra in counting how many bags I need and then punching in the appropriate buttons to charge me. Orale! se me va reditir la nieve!

  2. Yes KR I agree that would present a problem. Perhaps they can have a calculator handy. A ban would have been the best ordinance pero no one on this council has the political will to go that route. Maybe the LCVB can put together a tour of Laredo's best (worst) Plastic-littered parts of town- but where do they start?

  3. Paper bags and recycle....DUH!