Albuquerque City Council repeals plastic bag ban, defers vaccine mandate action

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – During a meeting that stretched into late Monday night, the Albuquerque City Council voted to repeal the city’s plastic bag ban and defer vaccine mandate proposals.

The city council voted 6-to-3 in favor of reversing the ‘Clean and Green Retail Ordinance,’ which prohibited most businesses from handing out single-use plastic bags to customers.

The council passed the ordinance in 2020 but the pandemic forced Mayor Tim Keller to suspend it shortly thereafter due to health concerns. The ordinance was reinstated in December last year.

Councilors against the ordinance believed it added too much cost for shoppers and businesses.

“We can bolster paper all we want but there’s still some unintended consequences and problems with that,” said Brook Bassan, an Albuquerque City Councilor, “It takes seven truck full truckloads to transport the same amount of paper bags as it does for one truckful to transport the same amount of those single-use plastic bags.”

Mayor Keller’s office issued a statement saying, in part:

“The plastic bag ban is one important step to reducing litter and council should have waited for the results of the impact study they commissioned, instead of taking this premature vote.”

The Albuquerque City Council also postponed action on two COVID-19 vaccine mandate proposals:

  • Councilor Isaac Benton’s proposal to mandate vaccines for certain city employees, including first responders
  • Councilor Dan Lewis’s counter-resolution to ban any type of vaccine mandate for city employees

The city council will take up the vaccine mandate issue again during the March 21 meeting.