After three months on the back burner following a disastrous roll-out, that proposed ban on cheap grocery store plastic bags will emerge again today at City Hall, 1200 WOAI news has learned.
City staffers will recommend to the Council Governance Committee that the bag ban be placed on the agenda for discussion and action.
At a public hearing in February, the proposal by northwest side councilman Cris Medina as a way to cut down on litter was universally criticized. Even Keep San Antonio Beautiful was against it.
It appears that many of those attitudes have not changed.
San Antonio Chamber of Commerce President Richard Perez, who is a former member of City Council, says alternatives like a 'robust' citywide recycling program should be considered before any ban is discussed.
"Try that first, and then if it doesn't work, then we would be ready to consider an outright ban," Perez said.
Retailers like HEB and Wal-Mart told the council in February that bans, like ones that are currently in place in Austin and Brownsville, discriminate against the poorest shoppers. One Wal-Mart representative told of one low income family that brings suitcases to the store to buy groceries because they can't afford the $1 cost of obtaining a single use plastic bag.
Supporters of a ban say those plastic bags make up fully 9% of all of the litter that is picked up in San Antonio fields, ditches, and fence lines, and say bag bans have been effective elsewhere in cutting down on litter.
But Perez says the city is jumping into the deep end without considering alternatives.
"We are starting recycling of plastic bags this summer," he said. "We haven't done this before, so there is no place where people can go to recycle their bags."
He said there also needs to be a citywide education campaign to warn shoppers of the dangers the plastic bags pose to the environment, and to educate taxpayers of the costs of picking up the bags.