Las Cruces’ Single-Use Plastic Bag Ordinance will go into effect on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022.
The purpose of the Single-Use Plastic Bag Ordinance is to abate the nuisance that has been caused through the rapid and growing increase of single-use plastic bags in the city. The Ordinance will prohibit the use of single-use plastic carryout bags provided by a retail establishment to a customer at the point of sale or checkout.
The new City Ordinance defines a retail establishment as any retail business in a commercial setting. Not defined as retail establishments in the Ordinance are food banks; public eating establishments defined as restaurants; or take-out food establishments who sell their products to be eaten on or off its premises. A retail establishment will be prohibited from providing a single-use plastic carryout bag to any customer. All covered retail establishments must provide only the following bag types at checkout to customers: reusable bags, paper grocery bags or cardboard boxes.
An environmental service fee of 10 cents will be charged to the customer for each paper grocery bag provided.
Retail establishments are not required to collect the environmental service fee from any person with a voucher or electronic benefits card issued under Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC), the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF), or the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as basic food stamps.
Fifty percent of the environmental service fee collected by a retail establishment will be retained for administrative costs incurred by the collection and reporting of the environmental service fee to the City. The remainder of the environmental service fee will go to the City for promoting the Ordinance, purchasing reusable bags for the public, and public education regarding sustainability.
To further promote the use of reusable bags and reduce the quantity of single-use carryout bags entering the City's waste stream, retail establishments are encouraged to make reusable bags free or for sale at checkout counters or provide boxes for use at checkout counters free of charge. The City’s Sustainability Office is authorized to provide reusable bags for the public at low-cost or free of charge, with specific emphasis on reaching out to low-income households to the greatest degree possible.
For information, call the City’s Sustainability Office at 575/541-2177.