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Plastic plague: Tucson could ban plastic bags in 2015

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Plastic plague: Tucson could ban plastic bags in 2015

CREATED Nov 12, 2012

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Paper or plastic? It's a question you probably answer every week, but if Tucsonans don't change their habits, it's a question the city may answer for you.

Bisbee imposed a plastic bag ban earlier this year, the city of Tucson could do the same thing if plastic bag consumption doesn't drastically reduce in the next two years.

"It's kind of hard to get rid of them," shopper Thomas Boweres said. "It's a widespread thing,so it's pretty common."

City leaders hope to cut plastic bag use in half by 2015.

"If plastic bags were so good, why are countries banning it?" councilman Paul Cunningham said. "If plastic bags were so good why are cities across the country banning it?"

Cunningham tells 9OYS Tucson won't be one of the cities, at least not yet.

"We just can't put our local businesses at risk and that's the line we had to draw," he said.

To avoid a ban by 2015, the hope is more people trade plastic for paper, or at the very least choose to recycle their plastic bags to get them off the street.

"We were just seeing the medians with too many bags blowing in the wind all over the place," Cunningham said.

The proposal calls for a 30 percent increase in recycling. Stores inside city limits would be required to provide the number of transactions and total number of plastic bags given out in a 12 week window. All of this comes at zero cost to the taxpayer.

"They don't benefit humanity as a whole," Cunningham said. "But we need to educate the public and let them know there are some alternatives."

And although a ban is no where near in effect yet, shoppers 9OYS talked to Monday night seem to be receptive to the idea if and when it should come down the road.

"I'm all for it if it makes the environment better," Boweres said.

"I'd like to see our city without this trash all over the place," said another shopper.

The City Council will tackle this issue at their next council meeting on Wednesday.