Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Bag ban to go into effect Friday

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TWC News: Bag ban to go into effect Friday
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Austin’s ordinance restricting disposable, single-use bags goes into effect Friday.

The ordinance is intended to keep single-use plastic and paper bags out of area landfills. Instead of the standard bags, shoppers in Austin will need to bring their own reusable bag. Such bags will be available for sale at most grocery and retail stores.

In order to qualify as reusable, a bag must be at least 4 thousandths of an inch thick—that’s about eight times as thick as the typical plastic bag. It also must have handles.

There will be exceptions however. Single-use bags will still be allowed for takeout food restaurants, including fast food. You’ll also still be able to find plastic bags in the grocery store to be used for produce and meat products.

H-E-B will have an emergency access policy where they can charge people a dollar to have their groceries bagged, but that program will exist only for the first year.

"The City of Austin and Austin Resource Recovery are focused on outreach and providing all the tools that our businesses need here in Austin to comply with this ordinance," Aiden Cohen with Austin Resource Recovery said.

Businesses that don't comply risk a class c misdemeanor and a fine of up to $2,000.

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