Austin Plastic Bag Ban Gets Under Way on Friday, With Many Austin-ites Acting Weird (In Favor) of The Ban

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Product Policy Institute
Last Friday was the official dooms day for plastic bags in Austin. The City Council passed a measure that banned retail-level, thin, single-use bags more than a year ago, giving shoppers and store owners time to find alternative ways to get their goods home.

See also:
- If Dallas Wants to Ban Plastic Bags, It Should Be Prepared to Get Sued by Retailers

An article the Austin American Statesman this morning has interviews will several Austinites, most of whom were being extremely Austin-ish, saying they were willing to take one for the team if it means less pollution, although some said it's an infringement on their basic rights.

Fred Mann brought old single-use plastic bags he had saved to buy a cart full of groceries at an H-E-B on East Seventh Street.

"I do love these plastic bags," he said. "Everybody hates change. But as long as (the ban) is good for the environment, I'm OK with it."

The problem is that plastic bags don't decompose in landfills and muck up the environments for all kinds of animals, mammals, reptiles, feathered friends and so on. Financially, the cost to clean up plastic bags that litter everything everywhere is a huge budget drain. A WSJ.com article reported that it cost San Francisco $8.5 million a year to manage the burden of plastic bags.

While private businesses don't like to be told how to run their businesses, the counter argument is that these lightweight aerodynamic vessels have a broader impact on cities the world.

Critics, like Save The Plastic Bag coalition point out, however, that children can get burned by soup if we're forced to use paper bags. Consequences, people. There are consequences for trying to help the environment.



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18 comments
AustinTejanos
AustinTejanos

Ironically, the windstorm the other day swept dozens of plastic bags into my yard, so I'm less likely to miss them, especially now. We've been bringing reusable bags with us for a couple of years already. It's kind of fun bringing bags that have a competitor's logo on them into Randall's, HEB, Walmart, Walgreen's and others. I understand the bags are made out of old soda bottles, but they are really very durable. The handles feel weak, but we've never had one break. The funny thing is, even if I forget to bring bags in with me (again) it's really no bother. The food just goes back in the basket, which I push outside to the car, and if I want them bagged, I can just do that when I unload into the trunk. We park the car by the kitchen door, so even that's not a biggie. In the long run, I regret the fact that single-use bags have been "outlawed". It's taking away a choice, and that's NOT AMERICAN. A better plan would have been to provide a tangible incentive to use reusable bags.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

<i>The problem is that plastic bags don't decompose in landfills and muck up the environments for all kinds of animals, mammals, reptiles, feathered friends and so on.</i>

That's misleading.  Nothing really decomposes in landfills.  The plastic bags take up less space in the landfill than paper and take less energy (and therefore polution) to create than paper.

None of that matters, of course.  Austin (like most liberal havens) runs entirely on emotion, and never on reason.

dallas_paul
dallas_paul

Want to get rid of these thin plastic grocery bags?

Stop charging $4.99 (or more) for the cloth bags. It's free advertising for your store. Give me one and I'll use it.

Nictacular
Nictacular

I had to stop at a large retailer in Abilene on a recent road trip and I noticed that the fence lines of the fields adjacent were all covered with these bags. Pretty shocking to see a field full of bags a full mile down the road... 

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Get rid of these stupid plastic bags already!  Either use a reusable cloth bag, or place groceries so they won't roll around in the cart, or in the car.  People are SO eff'ing lazy; plus it's nasty seeing this shite hanging in tree's, and blowing all over the neighborhood. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Hate the focking things.

I spend untold hours annually pulling those eyesores out of my trees and fencelines. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@everlastingphelps

not exactly accurate...

if "nothing decomposes in landfills" there wouldn't be methane emission occuring. there is methane produced, and there is decomposition happening. it is typically just very slow in a landfill.

the problem is the manner of how the landfill is worked. most landfill operations just dump the product and compress, and compress, leaving little moisture and oxygen in the packed matter. this slows the decomposition down dramatically, but it does not stop it altogether. degradable mass degrades.

plastic does take less energy to produce than a paper bag, and the manufacturing process emits less carbon into the air than what is made to power a mill. however a paper bag out in the environment will break down in a fairly short time frame, while the plastic bag could be there for who knows, decades. or more.

plastic bags are typically not recyclable, and they are notorious for gumming up the coveyor belts/machinery used in the recycle centers.

the solution is really simple...don't use disposable bags, be they paper or plastic. reusable bags are so easy.

MikeD
MikeD

@everlastingphelps Don't bust reason and logic out, it doesn't feel as good to these people and their elite leaders who make money off of them.  Next thing you know they will let us use whichever light bulb we want.  And drive whichever car we want.  Ruins all their plans.

Gipson
Gipson

@dallas_paul I've seen Wal-Mart sell theirs for as little as fifty cents. That's what I paid. Durable, too. Now no matter where I'm shopping for groceries, they go into Wal-Mart cloth bags.

danielslauren
danielslauren

@kergo1spaceship I just had one in my tree. Went outside to take a picture to use for this post, but it had blown away to another tree. 

Nictacular
Nictacular

Are you telling me that someone railing against liberals didn't have his/her science right? Holy shit!

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

@danielslauren

I think it's in my tree now, making that annoying fluttering noise. That; punctuated with my neighbor(s) obvious lack of a working trash can(s), and the fiesta that was held across the street at the park yesterday, has turned my half acre into Erie Canal, circa 1978. And who doesn't LOVE to see rivers burning? 

ps-I'm going hiking. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@kergo1spaceship @danielslauren 


Yeah, neighbors are the worst.

My former neighbor and his entire family would routinely put loose, unbagged trash into their wheelie-bin. Needless to say, on trash day when the robotic arm on the truck lifted and upended the bin for dumping, anything lighter than the several dozen Bud Light bottles (which should have gone into his recycling bin) that was in there would be whisked by the wind throughout the neighborhood like a garbage cyclone.

danielslauren
danielslauren

@kergo1spaceship @danielslauren Where are you going hiking? What are some good local places? I've started trail running. Yesterday, got lost at Big Cedar (missed a cut off), went an hour too long. Ran out of water.... Question: would you drink out of a running stream? I wanted to, but my friend assured me I'd get a brain eating amoeba. I was REALLY thristy.

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