Bring the Bag: Keep our Island Clean

The Bring the Bag initiative strives to introduce a per transaction fee for single-use bags, with a percentage of the revenue going towards the business for administrative costs, and the remainder going into a city environmental fund for recycling programs, litter cleanup, and education.

Promotion of reusable bags can help foster sustainable tourism in Galveston, is a great advertising tool for local businesses, and provides a great basis for youth educational programs. Single-use bag fees also provide a way for businesses to reduce their environmental footprint while saving money. Single-use bag fees or bans have recently been passed in Brownsville, South Padre Island, and Fort Stockton, with very positive results. These programs reduce litter, save businesses money in bag costs, and can increase business revenues from greater sales in reusable bags.

The average person uses 360 single-use plastic bags per year and less
than 5% of them are recycled. Even when properly disposed of, light
durable plastic bags are easily blown by the wind where they can enter
the oceans through storm drains or in coastal communities, blow
directly into the ocean. Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes
from land-based sources, and much of it is very harmful to wildlife,
who mistake it for food or become entangled in it. Approximately
100,000 marine mammals and one million sea birds die each year from
ingesting or getting tangled in plastic marine debris. Besides the
environmental hazard they create, plastic bags cost taxpayers and
businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in litter cleanup
costs, sewage and water systems maintenance, and recycling machinery
shut downs.

The City of Brownsville, South Padre Island, and Fort Stockton have
recently passed single-use plastic bag ordinances. Pat Ahumada, the
Mayor of Brownsville, stated in an email to the Texas Tribune that the
ordinance, which has eliminated more than 350,000 bags per day
“transformed our city from littered and dirty to a much cleaner city.”
The Texas State Legislature has pushed multiple statewide recycling
bills with preemption language that would prevent local governments
from enacting single-use plastic bag ordinances, which may be
attempted in future sessions. Although not passed, it shows that the
time to act on a Galveston ordinance is now. Click here to sign a petition to request a plastic bag ordinance in Galveston: Galveston Signature of Support Document

In order to attain a clearer detail of the community’s reaction to this proposal, business surveys have been distributed to local businesses throughout the island to gather feedback from those who will be most affected by the ordinance. The opinions of the general public and small businesses, as well as large retailers, reflect the communities initial response to the ordinance. Using this information along with general citizen response, appropriate measures can be taken to ensure that the ordinance is agreeable for both the citizen and the business operator. Click here to view the survey: Galveston Bring the Bag Business Survey

Below are specifics about our proposal and examples of existing ordinances:

Our Proposal:

Bring the Bag Program Overview

Bring the Bag Brochure

Bring the Bag Presentation

Bring the Bag FAQ’s

Example Ordinances and Legislation:


SPI Ordinance

2011 Bag Ban Resolution ver 2 dh edits


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