Norman City Council may soon consider ban on plastic bags

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NORMAN, Okla. - The Norman City Council may soon be pushing regulation that could ban single-use plastic bags from the south metro Oklahoma City  community.

"They have to be taken care of somehow. You can't just throw them away and they vanish,” said Norman resident Christopher McDaniel.

The familiar sacks have been the target of environmentalists, and now, a Norman city councilwoman wants to do something about them.

“For about a year now, we’ve toyed with the idea of how we can address plastic bags as a community," said Norman City Councilwoman Breea Clark.

Clark says Norman ranks as the top recycling community in the state and the bags actually hamper their recycling contractor by getting caught up in the blades of their machinery. The bags are no longer allowed in the big blue bins in Norman.

“So, it’s environmental, of course, but it’s also, these businesses are being affected," she said.

Clark says it's still in the planning stages for Norman. There are cities like Seattle that have banned bags all together, but she says Washington D.C. has a 5-cent tax on the bags and it has cut consumption of bags by 80 percent.

“I think it's been really good for those communities and I don’t think the people of those communities have any problems with it. I think it's been great, so I'm all for it," said Thomas Smith of Norman.

“There’s a lot of different approaches to it and we need to find one that works for Norman. And I believe the state of Oklahoma has shown it can be progressive when it needs to be on specific issues and this is something we need to be very passionate about," said Clark.

Clark is also worried that she is up against the clock. Senate Bill 1465, if passed, would make it illegal for local governments to regulate “auxiliary containers.”

The Texas state government recently overturned Austin’s plastic bag ban.

“This is the direction that the world is going in, not just the East coast or the West coast, so I want to make sure that we are doing our best to keep them out of the trash and reused as many times as possible and providing options for our community," said Clark.

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