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The Impacts of Plastic Bags

The Impacts of Plastic Bags

The Clean and Green Retail Ordinance, effective January 1, 2020, bans retailers from providing single-use plastic bags in the city of Albuquerque. This ordinance was passed in the hopes of improving our environment and reducing waste that comes with plastic bag use.

The plastic bag ban is a major change to the community, enabling us to do our part to end plastic bag waste. In the United States alone about 100 billion plastic bags are used per year - each of those bags can take up to 1,000 years to fully break down. While some retailers did offer in-store plastic bags recycling, only about 2% of plastic bags were actually being recycled. 1

One of the reasons plastic bags are harmful to the environment is because of the risk it causes to animals. Plastic bag waste continues to pollute our oceans, making up about 10% of washed-up waste on the United States coastline. 1

It’s a common misconception that paper bags are a way to fix this problem. But in reality paper bags are still harmful to the environment, since they increase the number of trees being cut down to produce them. Switching from plastic bags to paper bag shifts the negative environmental impact.

A great way to help fix the one-time use bag problem is by utilizing reusable bags. Reusable bags are generally made out of vinyl, burlap, or other materials, are more durable, and have a much longer lifespan. Storing your reusable bags in the trunk of your car prevents you from forgetting them for that quick trip to the store, and makes them readily accessible.


  1. “25 Reasons to Use Reusable Grocery Bags (Updated)”. https://www.reusethisbag.com/articles/25-reasons-to-go-reusable/.

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