New Poll: Most Austinites Would Support an Alternative to the City’s Proposed...

New Poll: Most Austinites Would Support an Alternative to the City’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban


AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — A recently conducted poll of Austin residents indicates that an overwhelming majority — 72% — would support an alternative to the proposed plastic bag ban, which if enacted, could prevent local retailers from providing plastic bags to customers when they check out.

More than 400 registered voters were contacted by phone between September 25th and October 2nd by data collection company American Directions Group on behalf of the Texas Retailers Association (TRA) and the Progressive Bag Affiliates (PBA) of the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

Additional poll results:

  • 90% of Austin residents reuse plastic bags around their homes.
  • 91% of respondents are aware that plastic bags can be recycled at grocery stores and retailers like HEB, Wal-Mart, Target, Randall’s, JC Penney, Lowes and Walgreens.  
  • 60% of residents know that plastic bags returned to retailers can be recycled into useful products, such as park benches, picnic tables, low-maintenance fence posts and decking, shopping carts, landscape timbers, and other construction products.
  • Only 13% of Austinites are aware that plastic bags are made in Texas, and that most reusable bags are made overseas.

Ronnie Volkening, President and CEO of the Texas Retailers Association, said the survey results bolster retailers position.

“TRA members have worked diligently with their partners to develop the infrastructure for a market-based, closed loop solution to managing plastic bags. A bag ban would not significantly reduce the presence of plastic bags and other film in the marketplace, but it will seriously impair the ability to recycle and divert plastic from the landfill. A ban has serious unintended consequences; there are better solutions available.”

“Hopefully the Austin City Council will see these poll results for what they are — the voice of the people they represent,” said Volkening.

Instead of a bag ban, the Texas Retailers Association, the Progressive Bag Affiliates and concerned citizens are proposing that the city of Austin pursue a solution centered around consumer education.

“Litter prevention is a goal we should all get behind but a ban will impede such efforts and does nothing to encourage folks to become good environmental stewards,” said Rudy Underwood, regional director of the American Chemistry Council. “Consumers value plastic bags. Instead of taking away the right to use them, we’d like to work with the Austin City Council on comprehensive litter solutions and on promoting the existing recycling infrastructure.”

In 2008, an 18-month voluntary comprehensive pilot program in Austin based on the three R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle) resulted in a 20% reduction in plastic bags being provided to consumers, a 74% increase in the amount of plastic being recycled through those stores and the sale of more than 907,000 reusable bags.

Today dozens of Austin grocers and other retailers have storefront recycling collection bins for plastic bags and wraps. Visit to find one nearby.

For more information about reducing, reusing and recycling in Austin, please visit:

The Texas Retailers Association is a trade association representing retail outlets across the state. The mission of the TRA is to be a strong advocate for the retail industry and to provide value-added services and programs pertinent to members.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $720 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation’s economy. It is one of the nation’s largest exporters, accounting for ten cents out of every dollar in U.S. exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

SOURCE American Chemistry Council; Texas Retailers Association (TRA)

New Poll: Most Austinites Would Support an Alternative to the City’s Proposed Plastic Bag Ban