Sunday, April 6, 2008

Plastic Bags

In a recent article in the Statesman (here), recent measures to cut plastic bag usage in several Austin retailers was discussed. Backing off of proposal that would ban plastic bags citywide, Austin city council and the Texas Retailers Association agreed to cap the plastic bag purchases for 2009 at 1280000 pounds while setting recycling goals of 600,000 pounds.

Stores included in the agreement are Randall's, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Walmart, and HEB. The reduction would represent a 20% decrease from current purchasing levels and 175% increase in recycling of plastic bags. The plastic bags will be replaced by reusable bags sold at the various stores.

Currently the proposal is merely a voluntary ban yet city council members say if the proposal flops then they will strongly consider a mandatory ban. Interestingly, San Francisco had a similar agreement in 2006 that was largely unsuccessful at reducing plastic bag usage. I tend to believe a voluntary agreement in Austin will have similar fate. We will see...

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