In the bag – Albuquerque Journal

Where are single-use bags prohibited?

Albuquerque’s plastic bag ban, officially Albuquerque’s Clean and Green Retail Ordinance (O-48), resumed on August 1 after being suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, when people questioned the health risks of having consumers carry bags from unknown parts and place them on store counters and conveyor belts.

Bernalillo County has an ordinance to restrict single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers. Santa Fe has banned single-use plastic bags for several years. Rio Rancho does not have a plastic bag ordinance, although some Rio Rancho businesses have decided not to use single-use plastic bags, and some do offer paper bags.

Other communities in New Mexico have adopted or are considering ordinances regarding plastic bags, many with a definition of “reusable” as a bag that is 2.25 millimeters thick. The Albuquerque Clean and Green Retail Ordinance Frequently Asked Questions site states that bags less than 2.25 millimeters thick are “single-use.” (

Who bills for reusables?

Albuquerque’s ordinance allows retailers to charge for thicker reusable bags. Various retailers supply the thicker bags. Walmart charges 10 cents per bag. Local representatives for Smith’s, Sprouts and Target were unaware of the intention to charge for the bags. Albertsons offers paper bags. Some hardware stores offer paper bags.

What other bags are acceptable as reusable?

Thicker bags are considered reusable. Checking with several retailers, they all indicated that customers can bring the thickest bags or paper bags into the store to transport their goods. If the bags are soiled, do not reuse them for shopping.

Reusable bags that you can purchase or that are offered as promotional items include woven or non-woven polypropylene, nylon or polyester, bamboo or hemp, cotton, and cooler bags.

How to maintain a reusable bag?

Reusable bags require proper care to prevent germs and mold from growing and contaminating your food.

Use separate bags for raw meats, seafood, and produce. Have bags for non-food items like cleaning supplies, hygiene products, or other household items. Consider using a marker to label your bags.

Keep your bags in an easily accessible place for use. Consider what else is in this area, such as sports equipment or chemicals, to avoid cross-contamination. Use a box, crate or bag! – to keep your bags together and ready to go.

Wash the bags after each use, following the care instructions on the label of your fabric / woven / insulted bags. The following instructions were found on the internet, with the links below:

  • Polypropylene: Machine wash (gentle cycle with soap and cold water) or hand wash with soap and water. Line dry.
  • Nylon or polyester: Hand wash in warm water and soap. Turn and dry on a line.
  • Bamboo or hemp: Hand wash or machine wash (gentle cycle) with a mild laundry detergent. Machine or dry line.
  • Cotton: Machine wash in hot water and laundry detergent. Machine or dry line.
  • Cooler bags: Hand wash in warm water and soap or wipe dry with disinfectant or antibacterial wipes, especially along the seams. Line dry.

And take out all the inserts and clean them with disinfectant cleaner.

Make sure the bag is dry before you use it again.

Where can I get more bags?

Watch for free bag opportunities at festivals, conferences, or other events. For purchasing, consider supporting the very small businesses that make shopping bags. Bags made by senior local artisans can be purchased at the Old Town Blue Portal, operated by the Albuquerque Assistance League. We are entering the craft fair season where you can buy handmade bags. See if a neighbor makes bags or ask on Nextdoor.

Make your own bags from T-shirts you no longer use. There are minimal or no-sew instructions on the websites. Search for a grocery bag from a T-shirt. DIY | NO Sew T-Shirt Bag (SO Easy !!) – YouTube. Keep in mind that you want a bag the same size as a shopping bag. Too large and it will be too heavy to lift and carry comfortably.

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