Texas retailers sue over plastic bag ban

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Texas retailers are lashing back at an Austin ordinance that bans the use of plastic bags and have banded together in a lawsuit, claiming the new law poses a health and safety threat.

The plastic bag ban goes into effect on March 1. It prohibits retailers from using plastic bags, as a means of improving the environment, MyFoxAustin reports.

But retailers say Texas’ Health and Safety Code does not allow local governments to outlaw the use of plastic-based containers and packages. They’re suing, saying there are other ways to “manage this issue” in a way that saves the environment, MyFoxAustin reports.

“This has thrown a great deal of uncertainty in to what the state of the law is and that’s the purpose of this lawsuit,” said Ronnie Volkening, the president of the Texas Retailers Association, as quoted by MyFoxAustin. “Our view is that plastic bags need to be managed like any other post-consumer product.”

The city says it will not back down, but that it will work with retailers to help them comply with the law, according to the report.

Plastic bag bans have taken root in several communities around the nation in recent years.

San Francisco has been discouraging their use since 2007, according to Bloomberg. Seattle and Los Angeles have also adopted laws limiting or outright banning them. Washington, D.C., meanwhile, charges a 5-cent fee to shoppers who insist on using them at stores.

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