AUSTIN, TX – If you wanna shop in Austin, you better bring your own reusable bag. As of March 1st, the plastic bag becomes ‘persona non grata’ in our state’s capital.
Single-use bags are being outlawed there in an attempt to help the environment by keeping them out of landfills and off the streets.
Stores will offer fabric reusable bags for sale, and in a few cases (like at HEB), the city has approved temporarily charging customers a dollar per transaction to use thin plastic or paper bags as an “emergency option.”
So what exactly qualifies as an “emergency option”? Like maybe when you really want that 40-ounce to get crunk, but you forgot your reusable bag under the bridge.
Paper bags with handles and thicker plastic bags (both considered reusable) will be okay.
“We are not going to create plastic bag police to go around and check on people,” says Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell. Well, that’s a relief!!
In fact, they’re going to rely on complaints from the public. If a store is found violating the ban, they could receive a Class C misdemeanor to the tune of $2000 a day.
Now before you green-bashers blow a gasket, know that this is nothing new. Europe’s been doing reusable bags for 20-plus years. Heck! Even Brownsville, Texas banned single-use plastic and paper bags back in 2011.
But would it ever work here in Houston?
Rodrick Woods, who lives in the Hempstead area of town, says no, “I don’t think it would work here in Houston because we use them as reusable trash (can) bags.”
Andrea Ferruzzo thinks it might work, but it hasn’t so far for her: “I’ve got a bunch of the recyclable bags in the back of my car, but I always forget them. Then when I get in the store and I get to the checkout lane, I remember. By then, it’s too late.”
Houston mom Lillian Osowski thinks Houstonians would make the change, begrudgingly, “I think Austin is a little more open-minded as far as things that are good for the environment.”
Santita Tensley disagrees. She says a bag ban wouldn’t work here, “The economy’s bad, and individuals would not want to pay for additional recyclable, reusable bags.”
Until folks step up and take responsibility for the environment, it seems our world’s future is just like one of those plastic bags… blowin’ in the wind.