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Austin Bag Ban Has Businesses Worried
It's 21 days and counting until the Austin citywide bag ordinance takes effect, and shoppers aren't the only ones feeling the pressure. Grocery stores and "big box" retailers are struggling to get into compliance before the March 1 deadline. And some local businesses -- like Woof Gang Groomer and Bakery -- still have a lot of questions.
"We use to have a larger option but we ran out and I didn't want to reorder without knowing if our bags met the specifications," said Katy McDougall.
McDougall is hoping her plastic bags are thick enough -- .0004 inches to meet the minimum thickness requirement. If not, she'll have to trash them and come up with a cost-effective alternative.
"We'll be looking to offer a bag or reusable bag option to see to our customers," said McDougall.
Austin Resource Recovery is trying to educate business owners on the do's and don'ts of the citywide ordinance.
"We're hoping there isn't a need for fines or those other things," said Aiden Cohen.
Come next month, all Austin-area businesses must post signs reminding customers to bring their own bags. If not, they face a hefty fine -- up to $2,000 per day. Bag wholesalers -- like innovative packaging group -- claim business owners are scrambling to buy bags that are in compliance.
"Right now were just trying to keep up," said bob moss.
According to Moss, the average paper bag costs 20-cents apiece. And reusable bags start at 80 cents. So there's a good chance you may end up picking up the tab.
"We'll look for the least expensive option possible so we don't have to pass along the cost to our customers," added McDougall.
Some businesses -- like HEB -- will continue to offer customers a brown bag option if they forget to bring their own bag. But it will cost you $1 per transaction.
By Alex Boyer