AUSTIN -- Plastic bags could be on their way back to Austin grocery stores. Following a recent Texas Supreme Court ruling, the City of Austin will no longer be enforcing its ban on plastic bag usage.
The City made the announcement in a statement obtained by KVUE Tuesday:
"Austin’s Single Use plastic bag ordinance has been in place since March 2013 and has been successful in reducing the amount of single use plastic bags in our city. We have not needed enforcement powers to achieve this result. We’ve seen a huge change and we’re proud of what our community has done to help keep Austin beautiful, the environment safe and our storm drains clear. Following the recent ruling from the Texas Supreme Court, the City will not enforce our current rules. While it’s disappointing that the City is losing a tool to help protect the environment, we are also confident that the Austin community will continue to do their best to minimize plastic bag waste. Meanwhile the City of Austin will continue to educate Austinites about the benefits of bringing reuseable bags with them every time they shop."
The Texas Supreme Court on June 22 ruled that a Laredo ban on plastic bag violates state law, which imperiled other cities' bans across the state such as Fort Stockton and Port Aransas.
The court said in a unanimous holding that city ordinances cannot conflict with state law.
Many customers had a mixed reaction to plastic bags possibly coming back.
"It'll be more convenient for me," said John Wagnon. "I'll be able to use them for bathroom bags and what not and maybe not have to pay for the extra bags now."
"I just don't like the idea of using plastic bags," Malcolm Brown, a shopper, said. "I'm not going to change my pattern at all. I'm going to continue to use my cloth bags as long as they stand up and when they wear out I'll buy some more."
Some grocery stores said they're going to continue to protect the environment. The store manager at Fresh Plus Grocery on Anderson Lane said despite the ruling, the store will continue to only use paper bags.
The city said the ban has been in place since March 2013 and was successful in reducing plastic bag use in the area.
On Thursday July 5, HEB replied to a customer in a tweet, acknowledging the Texas Supreme Court ruling and stating that the company would evaluate its company policy.