May 31 - Corpus Christi TX Considers 'Bagging' Free Plastic Bags

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Plastic grocery bags may soon be a thing of the past. Earlier this month Los Angeles, the second largest city in the US, voted to move forward with a plastic bag ban.

In Texas, the city of Corpus Christi is also taking action.

On Tuesday the City Council discussed an ordinance to ban free plastic bags and instead place a 5-10 cent charge per bag.

According to media reports, several City Council members are supportive of a plastic bag ban, but the Assistant City Manager recommended an educational program instead, combined with a small increase in littering enforcement.

Behavioral change experts will often recommend regulation as a last resort--but agree that it is necessary when a target audience lacks motivation. Voluntary programs to increase awareness of the plastic bag issue and recycling rates have failed in the past, and it is likely that a similar program would perform similarly in Corpus Christi. In 2010, LA County banned plastic bags after voluntary efforts in 2008 failed to generate satisfactory recycling rates.

The Corpus Christi Council will meet again in 45 days to further discuss options to deal with plastic bag litter.

Brownsville became the first city in Texas to ban free plastic bags in 2009. Bag bans soon followed in the cities of Fort Stockton in 2010, and South Padre Island in 2011. Austin made headlines when it banned both plastic and paper bags in March of this year.

See the full list of local bag ordinances nationwide.