Austin bag ban starts March 1

Priyunka Maheshwari, Feature Editor

Retailers will no longer be able to offer single-use plastic and paper bags starting tomorrow. The Austin bag ban is an attempt to limit the 263 million plastic bags used per year in Austin, according to city officials. Shoppers will now have to rely on reusable bags made of a thicker paper or plastic.

“I really like the ban because it’s very good for the environment,” junior Caley Butler said. “My family has reusable grocery bags and now we’ll remember to take them in.”

The majority of plastic bags are caught in recycling machinery or are littered along the road. To save money on cleanup or disposal costs, the city hopes people will take the initiative to bring their own shopping bags to stores. In addition, economic studies show that product prices may drop slightly as a result of stores not factoring plastic bags into their costs. The bags are also manufactured using petroleum, which will slow the depletion of this non-renewable resource.

“I support the ban because you can always use a recyclable bag,” senior Lukas Cramer said.

The plastic bag ban is not as shocking as it may have been a few years ago, because more and more consumers have acquired at least one recyclable bag. These reusable bags made of a tougher material are designed to last for three to six years, and the average bag costs one to six dollars. They are available at almost all major grocery retailers and specialty bags are made by companies like BAGGU or online on Etsy.

“I think it’s good, it shows we’re giving an effort to saving the environment,” junior Steve Gerken said. “I don’t know how much it will cost us, but it’s a step in the right direction.”