LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - Clean is the goal of the plastic bag ordinance. City council originally passed the ordinance banning all grocery store bags. Now, they want to change that. Instead the city wants to charge customers one-dollar per transaction if they chose to use plastic bags. But will charging customers deter enough people to help out the environment? Councilman Roque Vela said he thinks it will.
"I hope the one-dollar transaction fee is going to steer people from paying it. If it doesn't then, the city will benefit from having that added income to be able to help the community and clean our storm drains."
Of the one-dollar transaction fee, the store will keep five cents. The remaining 95-cents will go towards city environmental projects. Other changes the council wants to make is reducing the thickness of bags. Grocery stores will not be obligated to substitute paper bags for plastic. They will also push back the start date of the ordinance. Tricia Cortez is the executive director of the Rio Grande International Study Center. She said some of the changes the city wants to make would not help the environment. She hopes to work with them to make the best possible ordinance for the city.
"This is a critical moment because this is what is going to set the stage for Laredo in the year's to come. We want to get off on the best foot possible. We want to make this the best ordinance we can, we can learn from other city's."
This ordinance would not go into affect until April of 2015. The city said they want to give plenty of time for people to adjust to the new ordinance.