Wednesday, July 25, 2018 by KUT News

With plastic bag ban in the trash, Austin pushes campaign on reducing waste

Austin says it is still committed to reducing plastic waste despite a Texas Supreme Court ruling last month that forced it to end its ban on single-use plastic bags.

The city says it’s continuing efforts toward its Zero Waste goal, a plan by the City Council to keep 90 percent of discarded materials out of landfills by 2040.

As part of the effort, Austin Resource Recovery reached out to eight large retailers in the area to see what their plans are now that the bag ban is dead. As of Wednesday, 38 percent of respondents said they were considering next steps, and 25 percent were unaware the bag ban was no longer being enforced. None of the retailers expressed interest in starting to distribute single-use plastic bags again.

When KUT asked HEB earlier this month what it planned to do, the grocer said it would “thoughtfully evaluate the issue” to ensure it was making the best decision for its customers and “the communities we serve.”

ARR says it will continue speaking with retailers over the next two months and educate them on waste reduction – not only from single-use plastic bags, but plastic straws, too.

The department said it will release its findings and announce an action plan Sept. 30.

This story was produced as part of the Austin Monitor’s reporting partnership with KUT. Photo by Julia Reihs/KUT.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Austin Resource Recovery: Formerly Solid Waste Services. The department in charge of handling solid waste disposal, recycling, and--in what is still a pilot program--curb-side composting for the City of Austin.

City of Austin bag ban: This 2013 ordinance prohibited single-use plastic bags in the city.

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