Shopping Bags Charged A Dime In Santa Fe, New Mexico

Buyers in Santa Fe without bags will have to prepare ten cents for paper bags at the cashier.

Majority of the city councilors agreed to charge a dime for paper bags used in various shops. This is part of their environmental protection campaign. The move is hoped to encourage citizens to bring their own reusable shopping bags.

According to Councilor Chris Rivera, few citizens still go against the law saying that the city officials are just trying to create additional profits. He then challenged those nay-sayers that if they believed it, they have to bring their ecofriendly bags to skip the fee. His bold statement generated applause.

The bag fee was made to financially reward shoppers who use reusable shopping bags such as those Paper Mart retail bags. The previous prohibition of plastic-bag merely diverted the shoppers’ choice to use free bags offered by the stores instead.

Under the regulation, a penny from the fee will be kept by the shop to contain executive charges; 9 cents will be collected by the city government. Officials say the funds will be used to cover ecological information platforms. The council plans to hand out free eco bags to the public. They will also have programs which will educate the citizens about energy efficiency.

There will be groups excepted to pay the fee; they are the citizens with vouchers issued by programs such as the Women, Infants and Children Program.

Testimonies by individuals including children who approve the ordinance were heard before the poll of the councilors to pass the regulation.

Stefanie Beninato was the lone speaker who was not in favor of the new ordinance. She was not convinced that the city will spend the funds mindfully basing on the officials’ reputation. She said she cannot support the program because of the known financial imprudence of the city.

More than $336,000 is estimated to be collected on the first year of the ordinance. It is expected though, that the generated funds will decrease on the years to come since the citizens will probably shift to using reusable bags by then. Which is a win-win situation since that is the aim of the city council.