City may drop fee for paper in its bag ban

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Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 7:00 pm | Updated: 9:12 pm, Sat Jan 25, 2014.

City officials are reconsidering a provision of the ordinance banning single-use plastic bags that’s scheduled to take effect next month.

The ordinance requires retailers to charge customers 10 cents for a paper bag, as part of the effort to encourage shoppers to shift to reusable cloth bags. But the new city attorney believes the fee might be an illegal tax.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Jonathan Koolpe posted at 2:50 pm on Mon, Feb 10, 2014.

    TempestMan Posts: 19

    Melissa, I strongly (but respectively:)) disagree with your statement that the bag ban is an overall good idea and that "everyone" knows this to be true. I live in an area of the country that foolishly passed this idiotic law, and I see the consequences of its short-sightedness every time I go to a store: Elderly or disable folks struggling with their purchases, large families that make large purchases not having enough bags, longer check-out times at the store, reduced amounts of purchases and tourist spending, paper bags for take-out food that burst or leak on car seats or your clothes on the way home, etc.

    No, this law is not a good idea and many folks see it for what it is: A feel-good unnecessary nuisance of a law that will a) make no difference in the long run, b) will cause a shift to paper bags which are more environmentally costly than plastic, and c) will hurt businesses economically as folks will buy less overall or just go to the next town for their shopping needs.

    And beware the slippery slope such laws inevitably lead to as it will only be a matter of time before other things will be banned, some of which you may no longer agree with...

    Just asking you to think outside the box (in this case the "box" is the proverbial environmental "bubble") and look at the issue from another perspective.


  • El Cie Vigil posted at 5:53 am on Mon, Jan 27, 2014.

    El Cie Vigil Posts: 8

    Much ado about nothing, again. Can Santa Fe just do something about the bag ban except talk about it, already? Everyone knows that overall it's a good idea. Nearly all of the communities in the D.C. area have adopted the bag ban. It's a nickel out here: paper or plastic. What the ban does is make consuming and providing bags more salient. People buy durable shopping bags and take them everywhere. People are aware that it costs 5 cents and will forego taking a bag for every casual purchase, a sandwich for example, even when they don't have their own bags. It changes people's behavior... and that's what an effective policy should do... also, it's my feeling that an exception for the poor does nothing more than stigmatize people. A really cool thing that some retailers do, is give consumers the 5 cents BACK when they bring their own bags in. Now that's a great incentive!! You get rewarded for doing your part. Honestly, 10 cents isn't going to make much difference paying it or getting it back, not in your pocketbook anyway. Those that don't care about the environment will keep dropping bags in landfills, but less people will do it. People who use them as poop bags are already recycling, so bravo for you, on some level, anyway.

  • Donado Coviello posted at 1:03 pm on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    Cove Posts: 336

    And Geno will be back under Javier and the Charter revisions.
    Maybe that is enough for you Staci, to vote No on 9.

  • Steve Salazar posted at 11:19 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    Steve Salazar Posts: 855

    I'll just buy groceries in White Rock, and the bags I use to clean up dog poop are still going into the landfill!

  • Franklin Cat posted at 10:47 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    Franklin Cat Posts: 3

    Gene Valdez has some amazingly erroneous talking points. The ordinance does not force customers to pay for paper bags; it forces stores to charge for them. If a customer brings their own bag or declines a bag, they don't pay need to pay for one. However that still leaves the store with the decision of whether or not to continue forcing everyone to subsidize the cost of paper bags, thus allowing them to pocket the ten-cent charge as pure profit. So, Mr Valdez, how exactly is this a tax? I find your whining very taxing and your reasoning quite lacking.

  • T. K. Hicks posted at 10:30 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    ateBEEFboughtART Posts: 5

    If a government mandates you will pay money, its a tax. By the way how much is the lobbyist getting paid and who is paying that bill? I would prefer our city government to listen to its people and not lobbyists from other states.

  • Staci Benni posted at 9:00 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    Sta Benni Posts: 163

    There is no free lunch! Consumers have been paying for bags for years. It is included in the cost of doing business and always has been. The 10 cents per bag is a burden on hose barely making it but not eligible for assistance and a windfall to these grocery stores whose prices are already high.
    Encouragement is the answer--stores already have places to recycle plastic and credit if you bring your own bag. And if the city wants to be green, it should expand its recycling program to include cardboard egg boxes and cardboard milk and juice containers.
    BTW Ms Brennan is ACTING city attorney, replacing Zamora who moved onto greener political pastures.

  • Gregorio Ambrosini posted at 7:11 am on Sun, Jan 26, 2014.

    Gregorio Ambrosini Posts: 56

    That cool. Our kind City councilors aren't brain dead after all.


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