Austin’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban

with 2 comments

It doesn’t take much to drive home the point that single-use bags are wasteful. According to the Austin American-Statesman and the City’s Solid Waste Services Department, Austinites use 263 million plastic bags a year, and the bags cost the City $850,000 a year to put in landfills and to clean up as litter. Additional studies have clearly proven the same – and pragmatically, when it comes to reducing waste, using something once before discarding it doesn’t help at all.

Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell proposed a city-wide ban of plastic bags earlier this week. The proposal follows a failed voluntary ban enacted in 2008, in which six large Austin retailers (the only retailers the ban targeted) agreed to try to voluntarily reduce their use of plastic bags. From January 2008 to June 2009, these retailers purchased 3,454,522 pounds of plastic bags but only recycled 915,882 pounds of plastic during the same time frame – indicating less than 27 percent of the plastic bags from the participating retailers were actually recycled by the retailers (source: Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE)). Naturally, Mayor Leffingwell expressed distaste at the poor performance, and vowed to propose a more comprehensive ban. The mayor’s current proposal would ban the bags from all Austin retailers.

We’ll be attending TCE’s press conference tomorrow morning announcing their support of the ban, where the public may pledge their support formally in the City Council chambers following the conference. If you’d like to attend, the conference will be held at City Hall at 09:30:

A handful of other US cities have enacted bans on plastic bags, including Brownsville, San Francisco, and more recently Portland, which enacted their ban last week.

We hope Austin joins these cities in making progress toward reducing waste. At in.gredients, our goal is to encourage responsible consumption behaviors and support efforts at all levels to minimize waste due to single use bags.

Written by Brian Nunnery

August 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. I do avoid using disposable plastic bags when I can. If at Krogers, I usually request paper bags, so I can toss all my recyclable paper material into it, and toss it at the nearest paper bin since our subdivision doesn’t do curbside. Yesterday, since my Dad always goes to Walmart a lot, I bought one of Walmarts reusable bags, and it was only 54 cents! Including tax. Seemed pretty sturdy and a 100% recyclable too.

    However, you gotta admit plastic bags are pretty useful for secondary uses, like wastebasket liners. They don’t always just get tossed right away.


    August 4, 2011 at 6:02 am

  2. I agree with the previous comment about recylcing plastic grocery bags as free wastebasket liners.

    Owning three cats, I scoop a litter box at least once a day into a currently free plastic grocery bag which also includes any other bit of noncompostable/nonrecylceable household trash. I also use the free store produce department bags to wrap my home-baked breads plus use them as a “saran” wrap for leftovers.

    Because the shopping bags are free, I haven’t bought a box of trash bags in 5 years or more. A ban on plastic grocery bags would only corner me into purchasing plastic trash bags and plastic wrap.

    Zero reduction in wasted plastic: increased out-of-pocket cost. I guess the Hefty and Glad corporations are delighted over this proposal.


    August 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: