Santa Fe, New Mexico has become the latest in an ever growing number of United States cities to ban the use of plastic grocery bags. The new ruling applies to bags thinner than 2.25 mils, generally considered “single use” bags and will begin in early 2014. Smaller plastic bags for grocery items such as meat, fruits and vegetables, and bakery goods are still allowed.
The measure was passed almost unanimously, the only dissenter was one city council member who thought the ruling should also include thicker plastic bags used by more upscale retail stores. Other council members agreed with that sentiment, but stated that the ruling had large scale support at the current level and that expansions could be added as time progressed.
As part of the rule, paper bags, made of at least forty percent recycled materials, can still be available, but customers and shoppers would be charged a ten cent surcharge for them. Bag fees would not apply to those receiving food assistance such as food stamps. The bag ban does not apply to restaurants or food banks.
Santa Fe now joins cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco in California, Seattle, Washington and Austin, Texas, that already have established plastic bag bans.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Do you own a business that relies on plastic bags? It might be time to start looking into alternative solutions and asking your customers what they would like to see. You might be surprised by how many people embrace bag bans – by making changes now, you might be able to save money and be seen as a green “leader” in your community!