Mayor Tim Keller signed into law a ban on plastic bags — like those commonly used at grocery stores — on Saturday during an Earth Day celebration.
The bill was sponsored by four Democrats and originally had much stricter regulations when it came to single-use containers. Dorothy Rainosek — who co-owns Frontier with her husband Larry — said she expects more changes like the bag ban in the future.
“I’m glad we have time to adapt,” Rainosek said, adding that her restaurant wasn’t affected by this bill. The ban takes effect in 2020.
She said her restaurant, and the Golden Pride chain, are beginning to look at alternatives to plastic straws and are considering making straws available upon request.
Albuquerque is the latest city to institute regulations to reduce single-use plastics.
In 2013, Santa Fe imposed a similar ban. Both California and Hawaii have statewide bans on plastic bags. About 350 cities, states and counties in the United States have implemented some type of ban or tax on plastic bags, according to Forbes.
However, 10 states have implemented bans on banning plastic bags, including a cluster in the Great Lakes area. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Iowa have preemptively outlawed bans against plastic bags.
Back in Albuquerque, some groups expressed opposition to the ban, including the New Mexico Restaurant Association.
The anti-bag bill, titled the Clean and Green Retail Ordinance, was sponsored by City Councilors Isaac Benton, Cynthia Borrego, Pat Davis and Diane Gibson. The bill originally proposed banning plastic straws and styrofoam containers, in addition to plastic bags. An amendment put forth by Ken Sanchez removed that regulation and made restaurants and dry cleaners exempt from the bill.
The bill passed the council on a 5-3 vote and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
Justin Garcia is a staff reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers student government. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Just516garc.