In the early morning hours of March 2, 2012, the Austin City Council voted unanimously to pass the strongest bag ban to date.
Not only does the ordinance apply to all business establishments within City limits, according to media reports the ban also includes both single-use plastic and paper bags. Austin is the first US city with such a broad ban. A proposed temporary charge on single-use bags was scratched from the latest version of the ordinance.
Some exemptions apply, including restaurant and produce bags. Starting in March 2013, retailers are only allowed to distribute reusable bags. The City plans to spend $2 million in outreach.
Austin is also the largest city in Texas with a bag ordinance. See the list of other local ordinances in Texas and the rest of the United States here.