Stores: 40% fewer plastic bags used during Austin campaign

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by By STEVE ALBERTS KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 20 at 2:04 PM

Plastic grocery bags can take a thousand years to break down in a landfill -- just one of the reasons the City of Austin is encouraging shoppers to switch to reusable bags and to recycle plastic bags.

Bagging plastic bags

KVUE's Steve Alberts reports.

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At the HEB on Far West, more and more shoppers are opting for a greener choice. Christy Barry wasn't too excited about reusable bags until she put it into perspective.

"I have two kids so i wanted to kind of start recycling and do all that good stuff," she said.

Amy Powell has been using reusable grocery bags for a year. She believes the message to "bag plastic" is getting through to people.

"I think so it's become a lot of pop culture because everyone's go green so it's really popular right now," said Powell.

Alma French said she sees a lot of people with reusable bags

"It's probably 50-50 in this store." she said.

French said she has no problem fitting all her groceries into her bags.

"Most of the time my five bags contain what I buy," she said

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, city leaders said they are encouraged by early results in a voluntary "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" awareness program, saying Austin shoppers have made significant progress.

"I'm gratified at the progress we've made I know we can do better," said Lee Leffingwell, city council member.

Data collected from HEB, Randalls, Walmart, Walgreens and Target showed they supplied 40 percent fewer plastic bags at their stores during the first half of this year.

During that same period Austin shoppers recycled about 20 percent more bags.

"These same stores supplied 443,227 re-usable bags," said Leffingwell.

Council member Lee Leffingwell asked all local stores that use plastic bags to join the voluntary reduce, reuse and recycle program.

"Broad participation is essential to achieving our goal of cutting in half the number of plastic bags that go to our landfill by mid 2009," he said

It's a goal many in Austin are pursuing.

"I choose not to take a bag so I can save the planet," said Jackie Friedman.

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