AUSTIN (KXAN) — After a court case determined cities couldn’t ban plastic bags, ordinances like the one in Austin that did just that are no longer being enforced. Still, the city wants to encourage people to not use the bags, even though they’re not illegal anymore.
Two ways it hopes to accomplish this is by reaching out to the retailers and bag users. Austin Resource Recovery conducted a survey of eight large retailers and found that none of them said they planned to immediately start using single-use plastic bags. Many businesses were still considering their next steps after the rule change.
ARR plans to get feedback from businesses and educate them on the benefits of reusable bags, and wants to highlight businesses that are not using the single-use bags.
“ARR will also consider strategies that could address waste reduction from not only bags but other single use plastic items as well, such as straws,” the ARR interim director Sam Angoori wrote in a memo to the city.
The city also hopes people make the choice to not use single-use plastic bags. It plans to have a social media campaign around back-to-school shopping season
Austin hopes to become a Zero Waste city by reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90 percent by 2040. A 2015 study by the city showed since the bag ordinance went into effect in 2013, there were 75 percent fewer bags found in litter around the city. The Austin Parks and Recreation Department reported seeing 90 percent fewer bags after the first six months of the ordinance.