ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The next time you go grocery shopping in Albuquerque, you likely won’t be seeing any single-use plastic bags. On Sunday, Aug. 1, the City of Albuquerque reinstated enforcement of the so-called ‘Clean and Green’ retail ordinance. Single-use plastic bags are a thing of the past in Albuquerque.

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As grocery stores throughout the metro make the change to paper or thick, reusable plastic and are encouraging customers to bring in their own reusable bags. “It’s not good for the environment, you know I do toss those out, I tend to hang on to the paper bags,” said Ida Castillo. 

The City of Albuquerque halted the ban during the pandemic to help protect frontline employees and customers from the spread of COVID-19. After a year in the making, the city reinstated enforcement of the ban on Sunday.

City officials said the purpose is to curb the distribution of single-use plastic bags, which often turn into litter along roads and open spaces. “A month ago we stopped having any plastic bags shipped to any of our stores in Albuquerque,” said Nancy Sharp, Director Corporate Engagement Albertsons Market.

An Albertson’s representative said their nine locations in Albuquerque have been prepping for this change for the past month. “Two weeks ago we had finished depleting those we had left and switched totally to paper,” said Sharp.

Lowes Neighborhood Market off Lomas and 12th and Smith’s stores have also done away with single-use plastic. A spokesperson with the city’s Environmental Health Department said over the next few months the city plans on giving warnings to businesses that don’t comply which could later turn into a $100 fine.

The ban does not apply to restaurants or other eateries.