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Clean and Green Retail Ordinance

Information and FAQS pertaining to the City's Clean and Green Ordinance

On January 1, 2020, Albuquerque's Clean and Green Retail Ordinance (O-48) will take effect throughout the city. The new law aims to improve our environment by curbing the distribution of single-use plastic bags.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major concerns with using plastic bags?

Plastic bags are usually manufactured for single-use and generally tear of puncture after first use. They are easily transported by the wind and are a significant source of litter along our roadways and in open spaces. Plastic bags are produced from oil and natural gas, are never fully biodegradable, and can remain in the environment as small or even billions of microscopic particles, indefinitely.

Can't we recycle plastic bags?

Plastic bags can't be recycled in your blue cart. Plastic bags can be recycled in cardboard receptacles located at many local retail stores.

How will I carry my groceries home?

Making the switch to reusable bags is recommended, and some retailers give rebates to customers who bring their own bags to the store. There is nothing in the ordinance that prevents customers from bringing their own bags of any type to take home their groceries. 

Where can I purchase or find reusable bags?

  • Local grocery retailers
  • Online
  • Various community events

Can retailers provide paper bags as an alternative to plastic grocery bags?

Yes, stores may substitute paper grocery bags or other types of bags that are not prohibited by the Ordinance.

What should I do with the paper shopping bags that I receive?

Reuse them, recycle them, or donate clean ones to your neighborhood food bank. Paper bags with food or grease on them should go into your trash cart.

Can restaurants provide single-use plastic bags?

Yes. The Ordinance does not apply to food service establishments.

Can dry cleaners provide bags?

Yes, dry cleaning bags are exempt.

What businesses are affected by the Ordinance?

Most retail establishments are subject to the new Ordinance including the following stores:

  • Grocery
  • Department
  • Hardware
  • Liquor
  • Convenience
  • Gift
  • Other retail stores and vendors

There is no exemption for small retailers.

Are retailers allowed to use existing stocks of plastic bags after January 1, 2020?

No, retailers are required to clear stocks prior to the Ordinance taking effect.

Download a copy of the Clean and Green Retail Ordinance.