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CON: Banning bags would cut jobs, introduce other issues

By ALLISON MILES
Jan. 23, 2011 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 22, 2011 at 7:23 p.m.

Sylvia Acosta

A number of Victoria stores recycle plastic bags. Those stores include:

H-E-B, 1505 E. Rio Grande St.

H-E-B Plus, 6106 N. Navarro St.

Target, 7608 N.E. Zac Lentz Parkway

Sam's Club, 9202 N. Navarro St.*

Walmart, 9002 N. Navarro St.

*Sam's Club does not have bins set up for bag recycling but accepts the bags at its service desk.

A ban on plastic bags would affect thousands of jobs, including those who make and sell bags, people who make the resins and even the ink that goes into bags' designs, said Glenda Peterson, operations manager for Texas Poly, Inc., in Euless.

"Going green and protecting the planet is wonderful," she said. "I try to go green. But if it came to something like that, I'd lose my job."

Texas Poly, Inc. sells grocery bags, but does not make them. Most of the company's business goes toward food packaging and high-end bags for stores, Peterson said, explaining the company also supplies bags for a Victoria tortilla company.

A California city, San Francisco, banned non-compostable plastic bags in November 2007 at grocery stores that did at least $2 million in annual sales. Nearly a year later, a study indicated the move might not have reduced environmental impact, according to results posted at use-less-stuff.com.

Few people used reusable bags and those who didn't simply swapped out plastic for paper bags, often double-bagging their groceries, according to the report. That had potential to create even more waste, the report indicated.

Sylvia Acosta, who owns SA Jewels, Etc., in Victoria, said she can see both sides of the issue. Banning plastic bags would cut out waste, but could also be a burden for small-business owners who might have to switch to more expensive bagging options.

Acosta uses a mixture of reusable plastic bags and paper bags at her store.

"I could see it getting expensive if I had to go to the reusable cloth ones," she said.

Plastic bags are the least expensive option for carryout in today's market, said Tony Myers, general manager and vice president for Inteplast's grocery retail business. As of now, there really isn't an alternative.

"From an environmental point of view, paper comes from trees and consumes a lot of energy to ship because of its weight," he said. "There's a misconception that you can eliminate or reduce using oil by eliminating plastics, but ours is made from natural gas."

Myers noted the bags are both recyclable and reusable.

"If you have a product that can be used over and over again, why ban it?" he asked.

Related: PRO: Banning bags is better for environment, can save business owners money

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