Bag Up, Dallas

wholeby Steven Doyle

While scratching your head over the new Dallas grocery bag ordinance, we see zero changes for Whole Foods shoppers.  Their paper bags meet environmental criteria so there’s no charge for them. Whole Foods hasn’t used plastic bags at checkstands in five years, and has been giving rebates of ten cents for every one of their “Better Bags” or another multi-use recyclable bag, and five cents if you bring a plastic bag or a single-use or a paper bag at their checkout.

The law requires Dallas retailers to charge shoppers 5 cents for most single-use carryout bags, whether paper or plastic. The Dallas ordinance includes several exemptions, such as dry cleaning bags and most restaurant takeout bags. The law also requires that a reusable bag say on its exterior that it can be reused or recycled, and pass the test of being able to use the bag one hundred times. 

Retailers must print their business names and the bag’s thickness on single-use bags. The ordinance also requires single-use bags to be thicker than those used by the larger retail operations and chains. The higher thickness standard is intended to reduce the need for double bagging.

A moving force in the bag ordinance is Dallas councilman Dwayne Caraway who said at a recent conference, “This ordinance will protect our environment and our economy.” This may be true, and Dallas has already geared up to meet the demands of the local ordinance. For those failing to comply, a $500 per day fine may be levied. Strict enforcement is not eminent, as officials are giving retailers a chance to stock up and comply.


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