Arizona Passes Legislation to Ban Plastic Bag Bans
While many cities and states have taken action to ban single-use plastic bags, Arizona has done the exact opposite by passing legislation to ban the plastic bag ban. The Arizona legislature approved a bill that effectively prohibits cities and counties from passing bans on single-use plastic bags.
Arizona state Senator Nancy Barto (R), the sponsor of Senate Bill 1241 (SB 1241), said that the goal of the legislation is to keep cities from creating "higher consumer cost" and getting in the way of economic growth, according to Slate. She said that cities and towns implementing bans on plastic bags on their own goes against the state's job growth and economic stability, according to the New York Times.
Only one city in Arizona has implemented a plastic bag ban. Bisbee, a town southeast of Tucson, banned single-use plastic bags and charges 5 cents per paper bag.
Also included in SB 1241 is the stipulation that counties or municipalities "may not require an owner, operator or tenant of a business, commercial building or multifamily housing property to measure and report energy usage and consumption, including energy consumption benchmarking and building facility energy efficiency audits."
Lauren Kuby, a city councilwoman in Tempe, told the New York Times that an estimated 50 million single-use plastic bags are used annually in Tempe, and that less than 5 percent are recycled, with litter costs adding up as well as damaged machinery at recycling facilities from the plastic bags.
However, the bill also spells out that it does not prevent a county or town from continuing a voluntary recycling and waste reduction program or ensuring that "auxiliary containers"—including single-use disposable bags, boxes, cans and bottles—are properly disposed of.
In an op-ed piece published by AZ Central, Kuby, along with Tempe city council members Corey Woods and Joel Navarro, expressed their concern over the passing of the legislation.
"We believe this action is a step backward and stands in sharp contrast to the views of Tempe residents who have long favored sustainable solutions that benefit the environment and the city's bottom line," they said. They urged Arizona governor Doug Ducey (R) to veto SB 1241 to allow cities and towns to make decisions for themselves.
According to Slate, as of Monday, April 6, Gov. Ducey had 10 business days after the bill's transmittal to decide whether or not he would veto the legislation.
Related story: California Plastic Bag Ban On Hold by Referendum