Councilors propose eliminating single-use plastic waste in Albuquerque

The city of Albuquerque could soon be a lot greener.

Multiple city councilors are sponsoring an ordinance that would ban plastic at restaurants and retail shops in the city.

Four councilors decided to come together after the last city council meeting, where students urged the city to make a change on plastic waste.

No more plastic straws, plastic bags or non-reusable to-go containers.

“I just feel like it’s time that we have to start to address our pollution problem,” said Ashley McKenna, an Albuquerque resident.

“I think a complete ban would be a bad idea,” said Seth Jaramillo, another Albuquerque resident. “But I think definitely some sort of more regulation would definitely benefit, especially, the lakes here.”

The proposed ordinance that would create two programs: Albuquerque Clean and Green Business and Albuquerque Clean and Green Retail.

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

It’s something many businesses around the globe are already doing.

The ordinance, which will be introduced at Monday night’s council meeting, would ban stores from using plastic bags to instead encourage customers to bring their reusable bags.

It goes on to say a retailer may charge up to ten cents per bag, which something people who KRQE News 13 spoke with felt indifferent about.

“If I really needed the plastic bag, I think it’s worth paying that tax,” McKenna said.

“I would probably either bring my own or figure something else out,” Jaramillo said.

Councilors say they jumped on drafting this proposal after the last city council meeting when a group of students urged councilors to make a change.

“We do not want to live in a trash dump,” said 10-year-old Alex Hanna at the last city council meeting.

Sunday, Alex Hanna and his twin brother, Adrian Hanna, told KRQE News 13, “We wanted to help ban plastic bags or tax them so that it wouldn’t pollute our environment, so that we could have a clean sustainable area to live in.”

The bold idea is in its preliminary stages, and Councilor Borrgeo says they’ll tailor it to best suit Albuquerque.

“We are going to be asking for comments from all of the communities out there,” Borrego said. “The business community, any environmental community, people who are pro plastic.”

If passed as is, Councilor Borrego says it could go into effect as soon as this summer. If it sees a lot of changes, but still passes, it may be next year before that happens.

As part of the proposal, a business that is not in compliance with the ordinance could face misdemeanor charges and fines.

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