After much trial and tribulation, the Austin plastic bag ban is here! Starting today, those filmy, annoying single-use plastic grocery bags are no longer available at grocery store check-outs in the city. Addie Broyles did a great write-up on the specifics of the Austin bag ban, which has some interesting loopholes. There’s also a lawsuit challenging the ban.
I’m personally in favor of the bag ban. I find plastic grocery bags to be wasteful, and I hope that eliminating them from store counters will cut down on litter around the city. Reusable bags are not quite as convenient as the throwaway type, but they typically hold more groceries and are more comfortable to carry in from the car. Plus, they can be very stylish! Here are some of my favorite places to get reusable grocery bags around the city and on the web.
Almost every local grocery store sells reusable bags at check-out (duh). Usually a few vendors at the Citywide Garage Sale also sell handmade fabric grocery bags. I also like to shop for bags at Ten Thousand Villages on South Congress. They usually have several sizes and varieties of fabric or reusable bags and totes that although pricy, are stylish and durable. Bonus: these bags are made by artisans in developing countries who are paid fair wages for their work.
If you make your own bags, or have a nice friend to do it for you, Fabricker and The Common Thread have the prettiest fabrics in Austin. They’re also locally owned! If you don’t have a nice friend to make grocery bags for you, Taskrabbit can be a great way to find someone who can do that for you. The service isn’t targeted towards creative types, but since there are so many talented creatives in Austin, I have had success finding them there. Austin quilter Gina Pina also has a lovely selection of custom sewn bags and pouches on her online shop. She uses stylish, colorful fabrics, and her work is stellar. The only drawback is that her bags are on the small side– not perfect for replacing grocery bags, but they’re just right for cosmetics, jewelry, and smaller purchases.
Whether or not it lasts, the Austin bag ban is a good thing. in my opinion. It’s good for the environment, good for crafters, and a good way to add a little style to your weekly grocery shopping.