Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

Retailers will be required to charge 5 cents per bag to customers who wish to use plastic bags after Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved restrictions on single-use plastic bags.

Councilmember Dwaine Caraway first proposed the ordinance more than a year ago as a way of reducing litter. Assistant City Manager Jill Jordan says the city spends $4 million a year cleaning up litter. The law takes effect in January, and in the meantime, the city will spend $250,000 and dedicate five city staff members to educating retailers on the ordinance.

The measure passed 8-6 with council members Jennifer Gates, Jerry Allen, Lee Kleinman, Monica Alonzo, Rick Callahan and Sheffie Kadane voting against it.

Kadane argued against the ordinance on behalf of Carrollton-based plastic bag manufacturer Hilex Poly. Kadane says that company’s owner told him he will have to shut down the plant and layoff 500 workers if the ordinance passed.

Councilman Callahan argued that the city should do more to educate children against littering instead of putting regulations on businesses.

“Let’s just stop telling businesses what to do,” he says. “Train our children right so they pick the stuff up. That’s what we all did when we were kids.”

Even though most council members who voted against the ordinance are from northern Dallas, Caraway noted that litter from plastic bags affects all areas of the city.

“Bags are everywhere,” he says. “It’s not about a district. It’s about the city of Dallas.”