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Austin City Council Bans Disposable Paper/Plastic Bags – March 2013

At 2 a.m. today, the Austin City Council passed one of the broadest bag laws in the nation, agreeing to ban disposable paper and plastic bags at all retail checkout counters starting in March 2013.

When I first read this, I thought, “Seriously? At 2 a.m. on March 2nd the City Council was spending their time voting on whether Austinites can use plastic bags in stores? Did they have nothing better to do?”

You can read the entire article here: Austin Passes Bag Ban. Here’s the run down on what this new requirement entails:

1. Austin will spend $2 million educating us on why we need to use reusable bags.

2. Possibility of a fee if you use a disposable bag after the law goes into effect (this another way to tax and/or fine citizens).

3. Retailers can offer reusable bags; however, it is unclear if they are required to provide bags (if this is indeed a requirement for the retailers then products will rise in price as the retailers will pass on the cost to the consumer).

4. Exemptions allowed in certain situations.

5.The motivating philosophy for such a ban is “environmental harm.”

6. In an economy where we need job growth, the ban effects companies in the plastic industry.

The last statement in the article proves very insightful: Late Thursday and stretching into this morning, about 15 people stuck around to give the council their thoughts on the proposed ban; most were in favor. When most people, especially those who would oppose this ban, were at home and in bed because they have to get up the next morning to get to work and/or school, the proponents were actively at work to see that consumers could no longer use paper and plastic bags.

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