Bringing a reusable bag with you to carry home your shopping is the better choice for the health of the planet. It's also becoming the law of the land in some parts of the country. This year, new ordinances have passed in many communities that make single-use bags forbidden or more expensive to use.
In March 2013, all businesses in Austin, Texas, will stop offering paper and plastic bags to customers. One of the largest and strictest of the bans, the Austin law requires reusable bags made out of cloth, at least 40 percent recycled paper or extra thick plastic. The bags must have handles as well. Even restaurants are subject to the new law; fast food and takeout restaurants will have to switch to recycled paper single-use bags to comply with the regulations.
New laws in other areas allow for more flexibility. In Alameda County, California, The Reusable Bag Ordinance that goes into effect in January makes it possible for stores to still distribute paper bags to customers but with a fee of at least 10 cents. Plastic bags are completely banned under the ordinance.
Opinions on what impact laws like these have on businesses varies depending on the source. Advocates of these types of ordinances argue that it will save businesses the cost of having to purchase plastic and paper bags and that they can generate revenue from fees and from selling reusable bags. Opponents worry that moves like these could drive people away from stores and fear that more people will shop online or travel to stores in communities without such ordinances to do their shopping.
Paperless Kitchen wants to know, "What do you think of bag ban laws and ordinances?" Tell us in the comments.
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