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Bag Ban Facts

Goes into effect March 1

Where bags are banned
All businesses that provide carryout bags to their customers, including grocery and convenience stores, restaurants, hardware stores, department stores, bookstores, sporting goods stores, gift shops and other types of retailers.

Not Banned/Exemptions
--Produce bags and other non-checkout bags used for bulk items, unwrapped baked goods and frozen foods
--Dry cleaning bags
--Door-hanger bags
--Newspaper bags
--Packages of multiple bags intended for disposal of trash, pet waste or yard trimmings
--Paper bags used by restaurants; single-use plastic bags are only allowed if necessary to prevent moisture damage (for soups, sauces and other liquids)
--Paper bags used by pharmacists or veterinarians for prescriptions or other medical necessities
--Bags provided by nonprofit organizations

What if I forget my bags
The retailer may have reusable bags for you to buy.
These are:
--Cloth, fabric or other woven bags, with handles.
--Paper bags, made of at least 40% recycled content, with handles. At least 80% recycled content required by March 1, 2014. Handles are not required for paper bags that are smaller than 8 inches wide and 14 inches tall.
--Plastic bags (at least 4 mil thick) with handles. This is an industry term for a plastic bags thickness; 1 mil is .001 inch. A 4-mil bag is about as thick as a freezer bag.

My Bags
There is no restriction on what bags you can bring to the store

The State Health Department recommends washing reusable bags each time.  Cloth ones can put in the washing machine. Ones lined with plastic need to be sprayed down with diluted bleach.  Also health experts advise you NOT to store them in the car or trunk because higher temperatures can promote bacteria growth. Don't use the bags for other purposes, like carrying books or gym clothes because that could contaminate your food with more bacteria.
See KEYE TV's test of reusable bags

More info for shoppers

Business responsibility
All Austin businesses must post signs reminding customers to bring their own bags. If not, they face a hefty fine -- up to $2,000 per day.
More info for business

To reduce 90 percent of the waste in Austin's landfill by 2040.

Bag Trivia
--Every year Austinites use 263 million plastic bags
--14 single-carry out bags have enough petroleum to drive a car one mile.
--Average wholesale paper bag cost $.20
--Average wholesale reusable bag cost: $.80+

Read the ordinance

Complete KEYE TV coverage of the Bag Ban

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