Brownsville, TX, Jan. 6, 2010 - Last night the City Commission of Brownsville, Texas passed an ordinance banning single use plastic bags by retailers. The Ordinance prohibiting the use of plastic bags in the City of Brownsville was added to the LITTER section of the city's Code of Ordinances. It was originally discussed on Dec. 15 and presented to the Commission on Dec. 22, 2009. It is interesting to note that, according to the Agenda Request Form, the department making the request was the Dept. of Public Health. The Contact Person listed is Arturo Rodriguez.
The Ordinance discusses the reasons why there should be a plastic bag ban. Many facts about the impact of plastic bags are stated but no
scientific evidence is presented to support those facts. Following those facts is a list of definitions which defines checkout bag, plastic shopping bag, and other terms.
The ban will be voluntary throughout this year and the mandatory ban will take effect January 1, 2011. Businesses may instead provide only recyclable paper bags, reusable bags or biodegradable bags as checkout bags to their customers with or without charge. There are exceptions to the ban. For the purpose of transporting meat, fish and poultry products, a plastic shopping bag may be specifically provided to the customer at the point of sale.
The Ordinance also creates a committee to monitor the effects of the ordinance. The committee will exist for two years and will trouble shoot any issues with the application or enforcement of the ordinance, and report to the city commission on its activities from time to time.