Add another city to the list of those seeking to reduce plastic bag usage and litter.
[Corpus Christi] Mayor Joe Adame wants the community to work together on a solution within the next two to three months.
“The easy decision is to ban plastic bags,” he said. “We have got to figure out a unique way to change people’s behavior in the community.”
Some City Council members supported the idea of a plastic bag fee, while others said it’s not the government’s place to tell businesses what to do.
There was some consensus among the council, including an idea for public anti-litter campaign to put more teeth behind the city’s litter ordinance, and ramping up litter enforcement. Some council members said it might be effective to embarrass those caught littering by putting their faces in the newspaper or on TV.
Many who spoke during public comment supported the Coastal Bend Surfrider Foundation proposal for a city ordinance to assess a plastic shopping bag fee. The fee would encourage retail customers to bring their owns bags or pay $1 per transaction to use plastic bags.
Most of the money collected would pay for litter cleanups, education and more code enforcement officers. Some would go to retail stores to cover administrative costs.
The discussion about a plastic bag ban, which for the past two years remained at city committee level, recently gained momentum after the local Surfriders chapter took up a national initiative called Skip the Plastic. The initiative encourages people to bring reusable bags for shopping.
Here’s Skip the Plastic. Take a look at this picture for an idea of the scope of the issue. Of the ideas that various cities have come up with to deal with this issue, I like charging a fee for plastic bag usage the most. The $1 per transaction fee proposed for Corpus is higher than what I’ve seen elsewhere – a fee of five or ten cents per bag – but that’s OK. If nothing else, it would give some data about how elastic the demand for plastic bags is. If and when it takes action, Corpus Christi would join Austin, Midland, Pecos, Brownsville, South Padre Island, Fort Stockton, and possibly others by now – Eating Our Words mentions San Antonio and McAllen as possibilities. Sooner or later, I hope Houston will be on that list as well.