Last week, I filed a Council Consideration Request (CCR) memo to update some of our environmental policies as a city. One of these policy updates works to address an expensive problem in our community. If you drive through any corner of San Antonio, visit any one of our parks or walk one of our linear creeks, every place you look, chance are you will see them: single-use plastic bags.
Everyone I have talked to has admitted that somewhere in their home or garage they have one of these single-use plastic bags...filled up with balled up single-use plastic bags. Voluntary recycle efforts have not worked and so often times, they end up either littering our community or jamming the machines that process our garbage and recyclables.
These bags clog our drainage systems, threaten wildlife, create an eyesore, and are dangerous for small children. On top of all that, they are very costly for our city to clean up.
Some estimates say it costs the City of San Antonio as much as $1.3 million per year to handle the waste caused by single-use bags. Statewide, that number goes up to $25 million annually.
That is $1.3 million of your taxes to clean up someone else's mess. That is $1.3 million of your taxes that is not going to add police, clean up graffiti, improve our parks, or fix our potholes.
Our friends in the business community are not the ones to blame--they are providing a tool for their customers to carry their purchases. Many of them like HEB, Wal-Mart, and Target aggressively promote very inexpensive reusable bags to help reduce the number of single-use bags that people use. Some like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have already taken it upon themselves to stop the usage of single-use bags in their stores.
I look forward to working with them to craft a solution that eliminates the litter and helps us redirect those wasted tax dollars to our critical needs. For my proposed ban to work, we all will need to work together.
Community groups, neighborhood associations, the business community, and the environmental and conservation community all need to come together, work together, and help us craft a policy that is effective and makes sense for San Antonio.
I hope I can count on your support. Many cities all over Texas and the U.S. have already instituted a single-use bag ban. I firmly believe that in a few years these bags will have gone the way of the paper bag: replaced by something better.
Yours in service,
City Councilman, District 7
P.S. We are constantly working to improve our level of customer service. If I, or my staff can ever be of any assistance, please feel free to call our Field Office at 210-207-0870.
|The Alamo Area Mutual Housing Association has a need for families to be adopted this holiday season. Please take a moment to fill out the form and return by Friday, November 15, 2013. If you would like to participate or need more information, contact Michael Shackelford at 210.731.8030 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org