Austin Passes Disposable Bag Ban

Ban takes effect in March, 2013

The Austin City Council has approved a ban on disposable plastic and paper bags at checkout counters for retailers.

The ban approved early Friday takes effect next March.

Reusable bags that are allowed include those made of cloth, durable materials or thicker paper and plastic bags with handles.

The ban has exemptions, including single-use bags for newspapers, bulk foods and carry-out items from restaurants. Charitable groups relying on single-use bags to distribute food and other assistance are also exempt.

Supporters of the disposable bag ban raised trash and other environmental concerns.

Leaders of the Texas Retailers Association and other critics have said they fear the bag ban will affect business.

Austin city officials plan to spend $2 million on an education campaign about the ban.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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