AUSTIN, TEXAS (Dec. 12, 12 p.m. ET) — City officials in Austin have proposed a 25-cent carryout bag fee for both plastic and paper bags at retail establishments.
The fee would be collected from 2013 to 2015, and a single-use bag ban would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, according to the proposal. The draft ordinance allows for several exceptions to the fee and ban, including bags for bulk items, carryout bags used by restaurants, bags for beer and wine and bags to wrap frozen food or meat, amongst others.
The Texas Retailers Association called the ordinance draconian in its approach.
“The city of Austin could have written a proposal that is both thoughtful and trendsetting. This draft ordinance is neither,” said Ronnie Volkening, president and CEO of the organization, in a statement.
He said one of the most troubling aspects of the proposal is that it does not address recycling at all.
There is no timetable of when the City Council plans to discuss the proposal.
In addition, Austin is to spend $1 million to expand its recycling program for old refrigerators that are heavy on energy use, according to the Austin American Statesman newspaper.
Austin's electricity utility will offer rebates of up to $50 to customers who turn in working refrigerators and freezers.
A one-year contract with Appliance Recycling Centers of America will see them pickup, recycle and pay the rebates for about 3,200 appliances.