Just because the Texas Supreme Court struck down Austin’s plastic bag ban doesn’t mean the fight is over.
Late last month, Austin City Council passed a resolution instructing the city manager to work with city staff and volunteer advisory commissions to encourage retailers to continue to honor the ordinance… despite the fact that it is no longer legally enforceable.
Could this tactic work? In Council’s resolution, they revealed that the city never actually levied any fines against businesses for violating the ordinance during the entire time it was in effect.
(Don’t know what we’re talking about here? Need a quick refresher? As you might remember, in June, the Texas State Supreme Court effectively struck down single-use plastic bag bans in Austin, Laredo, Port Aransas, and other cities throughout the state. The judges unanimously found that the bans violate a state law, which says that local governments cannot,“prohibit or restrict, for solid waste management purposes, the sale or use of a container or package in a manner not authorized by state law.”)
One more update to the ongoing plastic bag saga– Last month, Kroger (one of the nation’s largest grocery store chains) announced that it will phase out single-use plastic bags from all of its 2,700 stores by 2025. Although there aren’t any Krogers in Austin, there are 50 throughout Texas (mostly in the DFW area).
In response to this announcement, the advocacy group Texas Campaign for the Environment is applauding Kroger’s decision… while asking the grocery store chain to speed up their transition away from plastic bags in Texas, in particular.
“Kroger can set a great example for other retailers to do what’s right and put an end to all the problems from single-use plastic bags…,” wrote TCE in an online petition. “Let Kroger know that because Texas cities and towns can no longer pass local laws protect themselves, Kroger should implement their new policy in Texas right away.”