Brownsville, Texas, instituted a ban on plastic bags in January, and residents are seeing the results:
Brownsville resident Juan Peña says he has noticed that the city looks a lot cleaner.
Travel around any part of the city and you probably will not see plastic bags clinging to fences or discarded on the roadways.
Peña says West Brownsville especially looks cleaner than it did about 11 months ago. He says the decision by city officials to implement a plastic bag in January was a good thing.
As part of the transition, stores could continue to give out plastic bags if they added a $1 surcharge to the transaction as an environmental fee. The bulk of the fee goes to the city -- about $250,000 was collected and used for litter pickup and as an incentive for bulk waste disposal.
Portland, Oregon's plastic bag ban took effect on October 15. Mayor Sam Adams expects the transition to be smooth, but hopes curmudgeons will blame him, and not the cashiers:
And Chicago is now considering a plastic bag ordinance as well. Alderman Joe Moreno is proposing a ban in order to prevent a scenario he recently described:
"I am, right now, I'm at [a] school in my ward, I'm about to meet with the principal, I'm on the playground," said Moreno. "And I can count eight bags just sitting here...it's windy out today, bouncing off the fences in this little playground area....Someone's got to clean those up, and it's city taxpayers that pay for that."