Don't expect to hear the supermarket bagger stop asking 'paper or plastic' any time soon.
The influential San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has written a strongly worded letter to City Council, urging members to drop plans to impose a ban on 'single use' paper and plastic bags among local retailers, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"We don't understand why we need to do this," Chamber President Richard Perez told 1200 WOAI news. "We haven't been able to clearly understand from City Hall the need for this."
In the letter, the Chamber says it supports 'progressive, innovative, and data-driven policies and solutions that support San Antonio as a desirable place to live work, and play.'
But Perez, who is a former City Council member, says the bag ban does none of that. He says a Chamber group recently went on a tour of all parts of the city looking at litter, and they found precious few discarded plastic bags in the litter stream.
"We didn't see any plastic bags," he says. "We saw Styrofoam cups, we saw cigarette butts, we saw plastic bottles."
Perez says he is also very concerned about the impact of a bag ban on the poor. Several retailers have told of low income customers desperately begging for a bag to carry home their groceries. In Brownsville, where a bag ban is now in place, one low income family brought a suitcase to a Wal-Mart store, because they couldn't afford the price of a bag. The proposed ban would also be difficult for disabled customers as well.
Perez says the idea has not been thought through, and members of council need to first allow a robust city wide recycling program which is set to begin in August and which will include plastic bag recycling to work before considering punitive measures.
"We are asking for a clarification from City Hall to slow the process down and work together to figure out why we need to do this," he said. "What is the ultimate goal?"
He says Chamber members do not support a ban, not because it will damage them, but because it will hurt their customers.
"Although there is inherent interest by the City Council to consider and potentially act on this item, the Chamber is concerned that such a decision would be made with very limited data and information about the proposed policy and its corresponding goals, including recommendations from stakeholders," the letter said.