With Austin's 'bag ban' officially gone, will plastic return?

When the City of Austin implemented their single-use plastic bag ban in March of 2013, Wheatsville Co-Op waved goodbye to the bags and never looked back. "We've had 5 years of a social or an environmental experiment happening in our town and what we've seen is everybody has been fine.  Everybody has been ok," said Raquel Dadomo with Wheatsville Co-Op.

"In 2013 when the bag ban started we got rid of plastic bags entirely for this store and what we heard from our owners and shoppers was 'thanks,'" Dadomo said.

Granted, Dadomo says Wheatsville has been recycling for ages and encouraging people to bring their own cloth bags to the grocery store long before that ban.  If a customer forgets their bags, paper bags are free of charge.

Wheatsville customer Shasta Lusk says not relying on the plastic at the end of the register has just become habit. "I haven't used them in probably 10 years.  I have plenty of bags that I use in my car," Lusk said. Obviously not everybody in town felt so strongly about the disappearance of plastic.

"Thank God the bag ban is over" wrote one Twitter user this week.  

Last month the Texas Supreme Court ruled Laredo's bag ban violated state law so Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to 11 Texas cities warning them their ban on the bag violated state law.

On Tuesday the City of Austin issued a statement saying in part  "Following the recent ruling from the Texas Supreme Court, the city will not enforce our current rules.  While it's disappointing that the city is losing a tool to help protect the environment, we are also confident that the Austin community will continue to do their best to minimize plastic bag waste."

"The comments that I'm hearing right now from our shoppers is 'please don't bring plastic back,'" Dadomo said.  Dadomo says Wheatsville doesn't plan on it.

H.E.B. sent FOX 7 Austin a statement on the Supreme Court's ruling saying "As with any policy change to our business, we will thoughtfully evaluate the issue to ensure we're making the best decisions for our customers and the communities we serve."

"Consumers actually have a lot of say in how a business gets run and consumers can vote with the their dollars to go to the businesses that operate in the way that aligns with their personal beliefs," Dadomo said.  

Lusk is hoping other stores will choose to keep the plastic bags away.

"I mean I think we always need to do what's best for our environment and our earth so...I hope they would choose what's best," Lusk said.

The group "Texas Campaign for the Environment" is urging Texans to call retailers and tell them quote "don't bring back the bags." They have a website set up where you enter your phone number and you immediately get a call that will connect you to your grocery store's customer service.