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Sep 10, 2013 08:40 AM

Austin-How goes the great grocery bag ban experiment?

Was visiting Austin recently and saw a news segment that many folks are nearing wit's end over the bag ban. They claim they make more frequent trips to the grocery store because the weekly big haul of yesteryear is over; their carbon footprint is BIGGER now due to those trips; and they are getting FATTER and eating LESS HEALTHY. And what about all those secondary uses they had for those bags? They are buying bags! NON-RECYCLED bags.

How is it going for you?

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  1. Social engineering at its' worst. Took about six months to get used to the new routine of putting the bags back in the car after unloading. There were plenty of times where I had to load loose groceries in the car as I refused to buy another bag. On the retail end shoplifting is up because the thieves browse and load items into the reusable bags and stroll out the door during busy times as it appears their food has already been purchased. It's all good though. Gave the Mayor and Council a chance to pat themselves on the back...

    4 Replies
    1. re: Frankie_Candido

      What's the source for your assertion that shoplifting is up?

      1. re: Oliver Oyl

        Article in the Statesman around the time the ban kicked in is my best recollection. Pretty sure the comment was from an HEB spokesperson. They've always suffered from shrinkage (esp. the E.Riverside store) and the bag ban has made it worse for them or so they say.

        1. re: Frankie_Candido

          And of course shrinkage is a discreet term for shoplifting.

          1. re: Frankie_Candido

            Yes, it has been mentioned in the news several times. Leslie Sweet is the HEB spokesperson.

            HEB was initially against the originally proposed ban. But then they flipped their stance in FAVOR of the ban after the city agreed not to make an interim "charge for plastic bags" period.

            So what does HEB end up doing anyway? Charging for plastic bags - the same situation they originally opposed . And now they're suffering skrinkage/shoplifting.

            Good for them, I say. HEB is pretty much the only grocer that doesn't offer free bags. Walmart charges a mere $.10 (much less than HEB). Wake UP HEB.


      2. I know a guy whose house backs up to a creek. Routinely he has to clean all the plastic grocery bags out of the creek, and there are a lot. He said that already the level has dropped dramatically. It just takes a bit of getting used to. I too, have forgotten my bags many times. You can buy a heavy duty HEB plastic bag that holds about 3 times as much as the old disposable plastic bags for a quarter. It's not that big of a deal.

        As for blaming the bag ban on people getting fatter, give me a break.

        4 Replies
        1. re: TroyTempest

          I'm not sure why those bags end up in creeks and trees? I've seen them before here, sure, but not like it's an epidemic. Do people just throw them out the windows when they are done? I am truly baffled. I know he must have soda cans and what not in his creek also. That's the type of litter I typically see.

          1. re: Lambowner

            because people pitch them, not caring where they end up -- wind and rain put them in trees and bodies of water.

            It's kind of nice to visit Europe and see *no* bags anywhere...granted, there's still cans and bottles, but they've all but eliminated one source of littering.

            One step at a time.

            1. re: Lambowner

              They blow for very long distances with very little wind!

              1. re: pikeman

                And they really do a (bad) number on the fish.

          2. It's going great. Already had a ton of reusable bags because every event ever seems to include free totes. Now much better at using them. Less garbage stuck in trees everywhere. No fatter than before. Thumbs up!

            1. My daughter lives there and likes it quite a bit. Not difficult at all. The key is to have two sets of reusable bags. Much less likely to go to the store with your bags at home that way.

              1. the guy who wrote to the paper about the bag ban making him fatter and forcing his family to eat out is an idiot.

                i'm proud of austin for taking this step and wish more people would get on board. from time to time, i might forget a bag, especially during an impromptu trip, but appreciate places like Central Market continuing to offer paper bags with handles at no cost. i keep those for gift wrapping and toting things around or just recycle them.

                It seems MT market is blatantly disregarding the ban.

                4 Replies
                1. re: topodrinko

                  MT market and a few Home Depots had a large inventory of bags and the city has allowed them to deplete their back stock.

                  1. re: whoalilponie

                    I can totally see that, because there were no other Home Depots anywhere that could have used those bags for them.

                  2. re: topodrinko

                    So paper bags are within the ordinance? Makes sense. The move to plastic was for cost reasons, but paper makes more sense and biodegrades.

                    1. re: Lambowner

                      Brilliant - export the pollution downstream from the paper plants. NIMBY works every time.