The City of Wheeler City Council unanimously approved a proposal to ban one-time use plastic bags Tuesday evening at their monthly meeting.
The ordinance regulating single-use carryout bags was approved without dissent among council members, but it did have one dissenter in the audience – the owner of Wheeler Beauty Shop.
The city polled a number of businesses about the proposed ban, but owner Diane Staben told the council as one of the city’s oldest businesses, she felt she should have been polled also.
“This ordinance is going to outlaw plastic bags in town. We are just trying to do our part environmentally, live up to our vision in the town plan and protect the environment,” Mayor Stevie Borden said before the council voted.
“I have seen enough bad pictures of plastic bags and what they do and how long it takes to decompose,” she added noting how the bags can wrap around a seagull’s throat. “It is something we don’t want to encourage. That is where this came from. It is a pretty short ordinance. This is a good ordinance.”
According to new city manager, Angela Oslund, seven businesses in town, including restaurants were polled about the ban on plastic bags.
“I use single-use plastic bags for products and I have been in business the longest in town,” Staben explained after the vote was taken.
What upset her the most was the comment that all the businesses were notified about the pending ordinance. She did admit that she supported the ban. “I do use more paper than plastic on certain things, but now I wonder if I will get fined. I prefer paper anyway,” she added. “I don’t care for plastic, but what kind of enforcement will there be.”
The city manager also told the beauty shop owner that she may fall in the “specific product” category of the new ordinance, which could mean it would not impact her or her business.
The mayor also added that the ban is mostly symbolic. “We can’t force people to do it,” she said.