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City won’t enforce plastic-bag ban

Texas court ruling prompts change

Man’s hand carrying plastic bags with vegetables in them
Single-use plastic bags in action
ARIMAG/Shutterstock

Following a recent Texas Supreme Court decision overturning a city of Laredo plastic-bag ban, the city of Austin announced it would no longer enforce a similar ordinance, KUT-FM’s Matt Largey reported Tuesday.

The court ruled last month that a ban on single-use plastic bags in Laredo, Texas, violated a state regulation that local governments “may not 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” according to an earlier KUT story.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent letters to 11 cities and towns in the state with bag bans on Monday, Largey reported, telling them their ordinances are “illegal” and “unenforceable.” Austin has had a similar ban on the books since 2013, but the city decided to cease its enforcement in the wake of the ruling.

A city spokesperson wrote in an email that the city would continue to educate residents about the benefits of choosing reusable bags instead of plastic ones, something many are now in the habit of doing.

Many municipalities across the country have banned single-use plastic bags in order to reduce litter and protect wildlife as well as the larger environment. Plastic in the form of drinking straws and disposable utensils has been in the news recently due to a ban on those items instituted in Seattle, Washington, earlier this month. The city of San Francisco is considering a similar ban.

Austin Says It Will No Longer Enforce Plastic Bag Ban, After Texas Supreme Court Ruling [KUT]

A Texas Supreme Court Ruling Against Laredo Could Invalidate Austin’s Bag Ban [KUT]

Lawmakers want plastic-straw ban to fight litter [Curbed San Francisco]