No More Free Garbage Bags? Uh Oh…

See the Cost

Many years ago Bellaire solid waste collection was changed from containers to plastic bags. For decades bags have been distributed for free on a quarterly basis, delivered to each residence. Residents are indirectly paying for the bag expense through their water bills, at something like $6 per roll. The current annual cost for this service is over $138,000. But it turns out that up to 25% of residents may not even use the City bags and prefer to purchase other bags, while others double bag because they fear leaks.   

What now?  Houston uses the large pick-up containers that are rolled to the street, West University requires bags but does not provide them, and does not allow containers. So Council was now faced with a dilemma. One Council member suggested stocking bags in a City location where Bellaire residents could pick up free bags, see if that saves the City thousands of dollars to be used on other expenses. The City Manager suggested a trial period by offering the current inventory of unused bags for sale at a City site.

Some background

After much discussion the outcome was a 5 to 1 vote by City Council to discontinue the distribution of the bags.  After the next delivery of bags this August the program will end and residents will be responsible for purchasing their own bags.

Residents who have been stashing those bags are coming out ahead, and the rest of us may have to shop for our own supply from now on. The white garbage bags from kitchen containers will be acceptable, too  What do you think?

Public Comments to the Mayor and members of City Council may be sent to with a request to forward your email. 

Section 16-2 of the City of Bellaire Code of Ordinances requires that garbage to be collected by the City be placed in plastic bags having a minimum thickness of 1.5 mil and a capacity of not less than 20 gallons each that will not leak when handled, or in paper bags consisting of two sheets of 50 lb. wet strength extensible paper. Section 16-2 prohibits the use of containers other than plastic and paper bags meeting these requirements

About Jane McNeel

Bellaire resident since 1956. Email: Find more information on 'About This Site' in the main menu.
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