The Santa Fe Solid Waste Management Agency, along with the governing Joint Powers Board, supports the bag ban initiative in Santa Fe.
Here are the main reasons:
1) Plastic bags are hard to recycle in Santa Fe. We cannot recycle them at the BuRRT because they get caught and jam up our machinery, wasting time, energy, and money on fixing the problem. They also do not have a sustainable market because film plastic is made of a low grade resin and it is hard to re-manufacture it into something else, therefore there are not a lot of buyers for the material.
Some big box and grocery stores around town will take them for recycling, but this involves back hauling it to their headquarters (most likely Denver, Houston, or Phoenix) and from there it might get shipped off (to China, yes it happens) to be recycled if they can find a buyer and it is clean and contaminate free. This is not the best best solution, especially since national statistics show that less than 10% of plastic bags actually get recycled. Some may get reused, but then where do the rest go?
2) They are a littering nuisance. We’ve all seen plastic bags caught in the juniper trees and chollas along the roads. Well, it also happens at our landfill, causing us to spend hours cleaning up after the wind blow bags. Again, an unnecessary waste of time and money.
3) It will cause an environmental mind shift. How will we deal with no plastic bags? Surprisingly, I think we will deal just fine. We are humans and we can adjust. I think the slight change to our daily habits will spark the conversation with our inner monologue, asking “do I really need to use that?”.
Overall, banning plastic bags is a tiny step towards being a more sustainable, environmentally friendly community, but the long term subconscious affect it will have on many of us could be life changing.
Sure, some people use bags for dog messes, household trash, and other things. Don’t fret, plastic bags will still be around for our newspapers, dry cleaning, and produce bags. If that’s not enough then you’ll figure out a way to adjust. Or contact me and I’ll give you some ideas.