AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Plastic is out, along with most paper. Shoppers in Austin will now bring their own bags.
Austin became the latest city on Friday to ban disposable plastic and paper bags, a move that followed an $850,000 ad campaign designed to educate consumers and businesses about a move that still elicits mixed emotions.
Other cities nationwide have already taken the plunge to bag-less shopping, and many more, including Houston, are considering it. Like in Austin, many city officials say the thin plastic and paper bags people get when they go grocery shopping end up as litter and are difficult to clean up.
Still, some shoppers in Austin were angry on Friday that they had to either bring their own bags, or pay for thicker plastic or paper bags in the shops, reported the Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/YF3vYl .) Others said they began bringing their own bags long ago, and supported the ban. A few said they would get used to it.
“It’s just like remembering to wear seat belts,” said Ron Roberts, who brought reusable bags to an H-E-B in Austin, and got a few free ones from the store. “We’ll get used to it. We have no choice.”
Austin Resources Recovery, the city’s trash and recycling department, launched the ad campaign and offered free training for businesses in order to make the transition smooth. By late Friday, the city had received eight complaints.
“We’ve been doing so much outreach … that today has been pretty quiet,” said Courtney Black, a spokeswoman.
Still, some remained unhappy. “There is nothing wrong with plastic bags,” said Virgil Rohleck, a Walmart shopper who carried his groceries out of the store in his hands. “It’s just another thing they are putting on people to take away their rights.”
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