Brownsville Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance

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Brownsville Plastic Bag Ban OrdinanceORDINANCE NUMBER 2009-911-E
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 46, ARTICLE II LITTER OF THE
CODE OF ORDINANCES, BY ADDING NEW SECTIONS 46-47 THRU 46-52
PROHIBITING THE USE OF PLASTIC BAGS IN THE CITY OF
BROWNSVILLE, CREATING AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY
COMMITTEE, AND ORDAINING OTHER PROVISIONS RELATING TO
THE SUBJECT MATTER.
WHEREAS, the City of Brownsville has a duty to protect the natural environment, the economy and the health of its citizens,
WHEREAS, the use of plastic shopping bags has a significant impact on the environment such as contributing to unsightly litter on the streets, sidewalks, beaches, clogging sewers and drainage systems, and polluting the Resaca waterways,
WHEREAS, plastic shopping bags are difficult to recycle and currently contaminate material that is processed through Brownsville composting program,
WHEREAS, costs associated with the use and disposal of plastic shopping bags creates a burden on the city’s solid waste disposal process; and
WHEREAS, plastic shopping bags have significant environmental impacts each year, including felling of over 14 million trees, and use of over 12 million barrels of oil for bags in the U.S.,
WHEREAS, plastic shopping bags cause the death of well over 100,000 marine animals,
WHEREAS, it is in the best interest of the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Brownsville to reduce the cost to the city of solid waste disposal, and to protect the environment by banning the use of plastic checkout bags;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE
CITY OF BROWNSVILLE:
THAT, from and after the passage of this Ordinance Chapter 46, shall be amended as follows:
Article II. Litter, shall be amended to add the following new sections:
Sec. 46-47. Definitions.
Business means any commercial enterprise or establishment, including sole
proprietorships, joint ventures, partnerships, corporations or any other legal entity whether for profit or not for profit and includes all employees of the business and any independent contractors associated with the business.
Checkout bag means a carry out bag that is provided to a customer at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting goods.
Plastic shopping bag means a bag that is made from non-compostable plastic or compostable plastic and that is not specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse.
Recyclable paper bag means a paper checkout bag provided by a business to a customer at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting groceries or other goods which meet the following requirements:
(1) contains no old growth fiber,
(2) is one hundred percent recyclable, and
(3) contains a minimum of forty percent post-consumer recycled content.
Reusable bag means a bag that is specifically designed and manufactured for multiple reuse and is:
(1) made of cloth or other washable fabric, or
(2) made of other durable material suitable for reuse.
Biodegradable bag means a carry out bag that is certified and labeled as meeting the current ASTM-Standard Specification for compostability by a recognized verification entity such as the Biodegradable Product Institute.
Sec. 46-48. Implementation of a Voluntary Ban on Plastic Shopping Bags beginning January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.
(a) The entire city will promote a voluntary ban of plastic shopping bags throughout the city in preparation for the mandatory ban of plastic shopping bags to begin on January 1, 2011.
Sec. 46-49. Plastic Bag Restrictions.
Businesses are prohibited from providing plastic shopping bags as of January 1, 2011 excepting only plastic shopping bags specifically provided to the customer at the point of sale for the purpose of transporting meat, fish and poultry products. Businesses may instead provide only recyclable paper bags, reusable bags or biodegradable bags as checkout bags to their customers with or without charge.
Sec. 46-50. Penalty.
Any violation of this Ordinance is subject to punishment as set forth in Chapter 1, General Provisions, Sec. 1-13 General Penalty, of the of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Brownsville.

ORDINANCES 2009\2009-911-E
PLASTIC BAGS 2
Sec. 46-51. Creation of Environmental Advisory Committee.
(a) There is hereby created an Environmental Advisory Committee consisting of seven members appointed for indefinite terms by the city commission. Any member of the committee may be removed by the commission at any time and for any reason. To the extent feasible, the members of this committee will be two persons operating a business in the City of Brownsville, one member of the City Commission, two representatives of Healthy Communities of Brownsville, one member of the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, and one member of the
Brownsville Beautification Committee.
(b) This committee shall monitor the effects of this ordinance, trouble shoot any issues with the application or enforcement of this ordinance, and report to the city commission on its activities from time to time. Unless extended by resolution of the city commission, the
Environmental Advisory Committee will cease to exist at the close of business December 31, 2011.
Sec. 46-52. Severability.
If any phrase, clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this Ordinance is declared unconstitutional or unlawful by the valid judgment or decree of a court of competent jurisdiction, such unconstitutionality shall not affect any of the remaining phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs and sections of this Ordinance, since the phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, and sections would have been enacted by the city commission without the incorporation in this Ordinance of any such unconstitutional or unlawful phase, clause, sentence, paragraph, or section.
Passed on FIRST READING this 15th day of December , 2009, and passed on
SECOND AND FINAL reading this ______ day of _____________, 2010.
______________________________
Patricio Ahumada, Jr.
Mayor
Attest:
______________________________
Estela Von Hatten
City Secretary
Approved as to form and legality this the
_____ day of ______________, 2009
_______________________________
John Chosy, Assistant City Attorney

ORDINANCES 2009\2009-911-E
PLASTIC BAGS 3

10 Responses to "Brownsville Plastic Bag Ban Ordinance"

  1. Pingback: Brownsville Nixes Bags, Becomes Texas’ Unlikely Green Leader : Wiki, Photos, Wallpapers, News, Blogs

  2. Pingback: Brownsville Nixes Bags, Becomes Texas' Unlikely Green Leader - 1-800-Recycling

  3. Kristi   2011/04/14 at 3:02 pm

    I do not mind the plastic bag ban at all. They have an excellent point. If you were to take just one day to drive around the city, you will see many road sides with nothing but disgusting trash and most of which are plastic bags. I believe the reusable shopping bags are more convenient in many ways. Sure we use them for our groceries but you could use them to transport many other things as well. Also it is more convenient when taking your groceries home. They are even more convenient than the plastic bags to take home groceries. Such as when you buy a cornucopia of groceries instead of making 4 to 6 trips from the car to the house you could easily make it one or two because you can fit a lot more in the reusable bags than in the plastic. You could even use it as a picnic bag to the park where you carry childrens’ snacks. There are many ways you would use these bags. I have even noticed some improvements in our highways. Our city does look much nicer and not so much like a landfill with buildings. So what if it inconveniences us to remember to bring our plastic bags to the grocery stores, it really is not that big of a deal. i say everyone stop whining about the situation like a an infant who just got off the bottle but cries for it every so often, and begin looking at it as adults and notice that we are making a small change that could cause a big change in our county and maybe eventually our state, then country, and then the world. imagine how much waste goes into our earth alone and how much land on our planet is taken up by it. By the time I graduate from college we would have eliminated at least 1/4 of waste in our city that is usually there. Imagine what our society could do in a lifetime.

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  5. Perl   2011/01/09 at 8:08 pm

    I to am very disappointed on the ban of plastic bags in our city. I for one will not pay a $1.00 fee for recycling charges. The way the city misappropritates the cash flow I am sure this fee will not be used for plastic bag recycling. It’s just a another way to collect money from the citizens of Brownsville.
    The commisioners and mayor should work at getting more jobs to come to our city. They should work in bringing in more quality restaurants, like (Olive Garden), instead of Taco stands on every corner of our city. We continue to elect people that are just interested in persuing their own agenda, and could care less about the citizens.
    For that I am now going to make every effort to go shop for my groceries somewhere in San Benito. They have a nice Walmart, and new H.E.B. I will shop for necessities and clothing outside of Brownsville too. I encourage others to do the same.

  6. Chad Bender   2010/11/27 at 1:12 pm

    I am very disappointed with the city commissioners for passing this ordinance. I will no longer shop in Brownsville. This ordinance was not well thought out. You allowed a select few to influence you. The city made little effort to really research this ordinance and consider the economic impact on the city. This ordinance will fail and it will cost local businesses money in the process. I will now shop in Harlingen and San Benito for everything including restaurants. I can imagine other national chains considering Brownsville to look eleswhere. This ban is not very smart at all.

  7. Mary   2010/10/13 at 1:34 pm

    Banning plastic bags is not the answer. Reusable plastic bags made in the USA would help. Using imported bags made with heavy metals and colorant will not help. they are not recyclable so when you are done with them they go in to the land fill with the paper bags that take up much more space than plastic bags. Hmmm and how many truckloads of paper bags (4 T/L) is equal to 1 truck load of plastic. The polution problem is not the plastic bags it is the act of cleaning up after “ourselves”. Trash did not just suddenly apprear someone dropped it and did not pick it up! We all need to get up off our “ASSEST” and do our part to clean up our town!!

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  9. Elisha Beath   2010/04/01 at 11:08 pm

    I’m delighted! After reading your post I can tell you are passionate about your writing. Keep up the great work and I’ll return for more! Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Brownsville Bans Plastic Bags | Plastic Bag Ban Report

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