Litter researcher says Dallas misused data in plastic bag ban briefing
City Hall is considering banning single use shopping bags with an aim toward reduc Pandora Jewelry ing plastic bag litter. (Brad Loper/Staff Photographer) (Brad Loper/Staff photographer)
Last month, city staff presented a comprehensive 87 page briefing on single use carry bags and their impact on litter.
The briefing, of course, was the result of council member Dwaine Caraway call for a ban on plastic bags that clutter creek beds and cling raggedly to trees, fences and Pandora Jewelry just about anything else that doesn move.
The briefing relied, in part, on facts and figures gathered from a study done for Keep America Beautiful by Environmental Research Planning.
Today, Steven Stein, principal of the research firm, sent a 2 page memo to council members citing what he concludes are errors in the city briefing.
According to Stein, the errors came from the misapplication or misinterpretation of the Keep America Beautiful study. And on some important claims, the city attributed conclusions to the study that it simply did not make, Stein wrote.
13 of your memo states that 5% of plastic bags are and inaccurately attributes that statement to the KAB Study. Our study made no such claim and did not conduct any analysis of that type, he wrote.
Stein firm has worked for non profits and governments. And, Stein says, it has also been paid recently by the bag manufacturer Hilex Poly a major player in the push back against any eff Pandora Jewelry ort to stem the use of plastic bags in Dallas.
Stein said his work for Hilex did not involve new research. Instead, the company asked if Stein would be willing to present, on Hilex behalf, the conclusions in the Keep America Beautiful study.
In his letter to council members, Stein writes that the city briefing was misleading and that could have consequences.
The use of misleading data such as t Pandora Jewelry his will likely lead to discussions of narrowly focused material bans, which if put into place, will not resolve the littering issues they are meant to address in the City of Dallas. Instead, they will create a false sense of security that litter related problems have been appropriately resolved. In fact, because they will have not been, litter related problems will continue to grow when left inadequately addressed as The KAB Study cited by the city showed that all plastic bags, of which plastic retail bags are only a subset, are just 0.6% of litter nationally, and the 2013 Texas Visual Litter Survey showed that plastic retail bags are 1.95% of litter in Texas statewide.
Mark Daniels, chairman of the American Progressive Bag Alliance and Hilex Poly VP, issued the following statement.
are happy to have a fact based debate on this issue. Unfortunately, a lot of the information that’s been presented to the city council is based on inaccuracies and distortions of fact. We think city lawmakers owe it to Dallas residents and the 4,500 Texans employed by the plastic bag manufacturing industry to understand the real consequences of a bag ban before they vote. And the reality is that banning bags will not meaningfully reduce litter or waste, but it will threaten Texas manufacturing jobs including more than 300 in the Dallas area and force people towards options that are worse for the environment.”