On January 1, Albuquerque’s Clean and Green Retail Ordinance will take effect. The new law aims to improve the environment by curbing the distribution of single-use plastic bags.

Environmental Health Deputy Director Mark Dimenna and Director of City Solid Waste Management Matthew Whelan discuss the change as well as some upcoming free reusable bag giveaways.

Starting next year, single-use plastic bags that are used for carrying products from retailers will be banned. This includes compostable bags and all plastic bags that are less than 2.25 mils thick.

The ordinance does not apply to food service establishments or dry cleaners.

Plastic bags cannot be recycled in residents’ blue receptacles but can be recycled in cardboard receptacles that can be found at many retailers.

The City of Albuquerque encourages residents to make the switch to reusable bags and some retailers will give rebates to customers who have reusable bags. The ordinance does not prevent customers from bringing their own bags of any kind to take home groceries. Retailers will also provide a compliant bag during the transaction.

Paper bags may be used in place of plastic and can be reused, recycled, or donated to a neighborhood food bank. Those with food or grease on them should be thrown away.

Reusable bags can be purchased at local grocery stores, retailers, online, and at community events. The city will be holding two upcoming reusable bag giveaways.

One giveaway will be held on January 25, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Smiths located at 3701 Constitution Ave NE. The second giveaway will be held on February 8, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Smiths located at 320 Yale Blvd.