Albuquerque restaurant owners react to possible plastics ban

Wednesday night, Albuquerque city councilors held off voting on a ban that would eliminate plastic bags, straws and styrofoam containers. 

It’s all part of the council’s initiative to make Albuquerque a cleaner and greener city. 

“Basically what it is, is it eliminates single-use plastics,” said City Councilor Cynthia Borrego.

Owners of restaurants like Frontier and the Boiler Monkey coffee shop say they’re both willing to make the change to paper products, but say the transition will increase their costs and it’s likely going to be balanced out with a small increase in prices. 

“I’ve done the math on it and I think it’ll be about ten cents. It just kind of depends on how much the distributors bring in and how much the products are going to cost us to buy,” said Matthew Fuemmeler, the owner of the Boiler Monkey.

The Boiler Monkey says it tries to be eco-friendly already, encouraging customers to bring in their own coffee mugs and to-go containers. Fuemmeler says the plastic ban will lead to more awareness. 

The Rainoseks, the owners of the Frontier Restaurant, say it’s important to remain open to change, but they’re concerned because they serve a lot of saucy food. They’re questioning how the paper containers will hold up. 

The Rainoseks are hoping for a grace period to make the full transition. 

“We feel there needs to be some sort of grace period, if that’s what is going to happen. Manufacturers will adjust, but it’ll just take time because there’s a lot of plastic used,” said Larry Rainosek, one of the owners of Frontier. 

The Rainoseks say they’ve already ran into manufacturers having a hard time filling orders because of the big switch nationwide from plastic to more paper. 

The city of Santa Fe has already banned plastic straws. They also have a 10-cent tax on plastic shopping bags. 

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