Home > Austin, low-impact, sustainability > Austin may soon ban plastic grocery bags

Austin may soon ban plastic grocery bags

plastic bagas i mentioned in my last post on the topic, it’s only a matter of time before other cities jump on the plastic bag banning bandwagon now that San Francisco has become the first US city to do so. a few weeks ago, Austin City Council announced that they are starting a 60 day study period before deciding whether or not to ban plastic grocery bags. i hope they do so – plastic bags are petroleum products; are typically single use; usually end up either in landfills or littering streets, parks, and rivers/lakes/oceans.

i’ve read comments online by people stating that using paper is just as bad as using plastic b/c of the energy required to recycle. perhaps not just as bad, but it’s true that paper is not the answer – reusable bags are. if everyone would simply bring their own reusable canvas or plastic bags to and from the grocery store, this would all be moot. it’s not like it’s so difficult – they fold up really easily and can be left in your car trunk when not in use. our local HEB grocery has already responded to the anticipated ban by selling reusable canvas bags at the checkout line and touting their environmental benefits. it would be nice if they’d drop the price from $3.50 to something like $2.00 considering that the bags aren’t that large, but it’s still good to see them actively promoting better behavior.

Austin may limit use of plastic shopping bags [Austin American Statesman]

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  1. Gerard
    May 3, 2007 at 2:56 am

    Austin should get a real issue to worry about. Plastic shopping bags are a very efficient way of getting the groceries home from the store – and those bags have a wide range of uses for which you would have to buy other bags if you didn’t get them at the store.

    The bag tax in Ireland saw a 400% increase in the sale of garbage bags and b in liners.

    Those reusable cotton bags are heavier. If everyone switched to them and left them in the car so as not to forget them, we would collectively be carting around thousands of tons of bags everytime we use the car. Just do the math!

    Nothing environmental about that.

    Gerard, Sydney, Australia

  2. May 3, 2007 at 5:00 am

    sorry, but that logic makes no sense. while reusable cotton or linen bags are indeed heavier than plastic bags, their weight is negligible when weighed against fuel efficiency. it’s like carrying a nickel in your pocket instead of a penny. further, the amount of energy expended on driving around those few extra kilograms is negligible when weighed against the energy expended to continuously manufacture plastic bags.

    aside from the energy expenditure, one of the benefits is a more visually pleasing environment. there will always be litter, but taking one of the worst offenders out of the equation is a big step. no more plastic bags hanging from trees or electric lines, or crumpled in the gutter, or catching a gust of wind, or floating in the river…

    additionally, i’m not too sure what you’re doing w/ your plastic bags, but i’m having a hard time imagining the myriad of uses possessed solely by plastic bags.

    regarding the 400% increase in sales of garbage bags in ireland – where did you find that statistic? i’m not surprised that there are likely some growing pains associated with this switch, but the benefits are numerous and worth the effort.

    finally – i take offense that this isn’t a ‘real issue to worry about’. the environment is perhaps one of the most pressing issues that many people don’t seem to want to deal with. besides, it isn’t like this is the only issue taken up by city council – austin is known in the US as being a progressive and politically motivated city. austin is actively dealing with urban redevelopment, homelessness, health issues – just about everything any city has to deal with, and in a rather forward thinking way. i love when people disagree with an issue and then respond that so and so should find something ‘real’ to worry about.

  3. September 25, 2014 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about most convenient
    trash bags. Regards

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