Austin’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban
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.