Albuquerque’s plastic bag ban: Are stores following the new rule?

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been a week since plastic bags have been banned in Albuquerque stores. So, have businesses been following the new ordinance? And who’s enforcing it?

The city said people are still confused about the rules of the ban. There are some tips coming in, but they’re not panning out.

Since the ban on plastic bags began January 1, the City’s Environmental Health Department said people have been calling them, concerned stores aren’t following the rules.

“So far there hasn’t been anything to create a case over, but we’re only a couple days in, and I’m sure we’ll find a few places where we’ll have to set things right,” said Mark DiMenna, CABQ’s Environmental Health Department spokesperson.

With the ban in effect, stores are no longer allowed to give out thin plastic bags. However, stores can give out thicker, reusable bags or paper bags for a small charge.

“We expected there to be some sorting out what is allowed, what is not. And we’re obviously looking into every complaint we hear about, checking things as we go making sure these bags are in compliance,” said DiMenna.

KRQE News 13 also looked into it ourselves.

“Do you want a bag?” asked a cashier.

“No, I’m fine,” replied a shopper.

KRQE News 13 popped into a few stores around the city and those stores were in the clear. For some shoppers, however, remembering the new ordinance might take some time to get used to.

Food and restaurant inspectors from the City’s Environmental Health Department are the ones enforcing the new ordinance. So, if a store is caught slipping up, the first offense is a warning. A second offense is a $250 fine.

The city is encouraging people who think a store is handing out those thin plastic bags to give them a call at 311.

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