No more single-use plastic bags for you, Austin shoppers. The much-talked about and debated ban on the flimsy bags officially went into effect throughout the city on Friday.
Add one more item to your shopping list.
"Two of 'em, let's get two of 'em," said Shay Mcanally.
Chelsea Garcia added, "Yea, we'll get two."
Chelsea Garcia and Shay Mcanally have been using reusable bags since before the city-wide ban.
"We have a lot of bags, but we just never seem to bring them," Garcia said.
Macanally said, "We always forget them...We can't really rely on the other plastic bags now."
"When we parked in the parking lot, I was like, oh yea, it's March 1st," Garcia said.
Friday, March 1st, retailers are no longer allowed to use disposable plastic or paper bags, unless they apply for an exemption from the city, like HEB, says Leslie Sweet.
Sweet said, "For $1, customers can request, as an option of last resort, to access single-use paper and plastic."
The fee goes toward future reusable bag giveaways.
"The last two weekends we gave away 300,000 reusable bags and the first three days of the ban we're giving away another 400,000," Sweet added.
Even with the city spending $850,000 on an advertising campaign, some people at the checkout counter were caught completely by surprise.
"Didn't know until I walked in and I had no bags to walk out with," added Matthew.
I asked, "Are you planning on purchasing any reusable bags in the future?"
Matthew answered, "That I think, is a little ridiculous...because when I get home, the one thing I want to do is put away the groceries and chuck the bag."
There are some exemptions to the ban, like thin bags for produce, meat, fish, pharmaceuticals and poultry.
Garcia said, "I think it's a good idea. Our society definitely uses too much in everything...There are bags everywhere. You know, you see them on the side of the road, in creek beds, like all over the place, so hopefully, that will help."
"I'm very adaptable. You gotta do what you gotta do, but at the same time, it's kind of a pain in the tail," added Matthew.
Garcia said, "We'll just put it all in our trunk and when we get home, we have bags, so we can carry it inside."
A lawsuit filed by the Texas Retailers Association has been served to the city, claiming the bag ban violates state law.
A rep with the Texas Retailers Association says they did not file an injunction to stop the ban bag.
They expect a response from the city in a couple of months.