Santa Fe, New Mexico Proposes Reusable Bag Ordinance
Posted by Ted Duboise
Affected Retailers Must Provide Reusable Bags
Santa Fe, New Mexico, Oct. 1, 2012 (PBBR) – The city of Santa Fe, New Mexico is considering banning plastic bags, regulating the use of recyclable paper bags, and promoting the use of reusable bags. These regulations would become law in a single piece of legislation known as the Reusable Bag Ordinance.
As a continuation of the city’s efforts on environmental policy, the ordinance would be implemented as part of the Sustainable Santa Fe plan. The city will establish a new article of the Santa Fe City Code 1987 in the environmental services section.
The Ordinance would affect any and all retailers who are engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of goods that includes hardware, clothing, milk, bread, soda, and snack foods.
The Reusable Bag Ordinance would apply only to bags used to transport purchases away from the store. Bags used inside the store, such as produce bags, meat bags or other product bags, would be exempt from the rule.
Furthermore, merchants would be required to provide reusable bags for transporting store purchases, either for a charge or for free. Stores may also provide to customers a recyclable paper bag but are required to charge a fee of ten cents if a recyclable paper bag is requested by the customer.
Under the law, restaurants would be exempt and will be allowed to provide single-use bags to customers who order food for take-out. This is a surprising twist as this has been a big controversy in the state of California.
Santa Fe’s Reusable Bag Ordinance, if adopted, will be effective in two parts. July 1st, 2013 will be the effective date for stores defined as full-line, self-service retail stores that sell a line of dry grocery, canned goods, or nonfood items and some perishable items (grocery stores and supermarkets).
January 1st, 2014 will be the effective date for stores defined as a drug store, hardware store, pharmacy, supermarket, grocery store, convenience food store, food mart, or other entity engaged in the retail sale of a limited line of goods that includes hardware, milk, bread, soda, and snack foods (pharmacies, home improvement stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets, and liquor stores.
Disposable Bag Use Reduction
At the regular meeting of Santa Fe’s City Business and Quality of Life Committee (CBQL) on May 8th, 2012, Committee Chair Rebecca Wurzburger formed a task force to revive implementation of a previous resolution, known as the Disposable Bag Use Reduction resolution. The task force is a subcommittee the CBQL known as the Grocery Bag Task Force.
Cover photo: The Inn & Spa at Loretta. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Credit: Ted Duboise. Image and Design Copyright © 2013 Ted Duboise. All Rights Reserved.