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Claire Matucheski

The banishing of the bag

Posted by on 7/16/13 at 09:41pm

On March 1st of this year the Austin joined the growing list of cities around the world banning plastic shopping bags. Our northern neighbor has many in San Antonio thinking it’s time for us to follow suit.

It is estimated that 100 billion plastic shopping bags are used in the U.S. each year which is just over 310 per person per year according to the Worldwatch Institute. This many bags require about 12 million barrels of oil. They are also a huge source of litter especially in coastal areas where marine life can mistake the bags for food and suffocate.

Opponents of the ban argue that many plastic bags are recycled. While in many places they can be recycled, less than 5% actually are. Most bags end up crowding landfills where they can take hundreds of years to photodegrade.

We’re certainly excited that Austin jumped on this sustainable bandwagon, however it’s worth noting that they were not the first Texas city to do so. Brownsville was actually the first Texas city to ban plastic bags all the way back in January 2011. This change eliminated more than 350,000 bags per day in the city! The Texas cities of South Padre Island, Laguna Vista, Fort Stockton, and Sunset Valley have all joined the ranks as well. There is even a discussion about a ban issue happening in Dallas right now. How about San Antonio?

If you’re interested in signing a petition to stop the use of plastic bags in San Antonio, please sign here.