Santa Fe City Council approves 10 cent paper bag charge

A clerk bags groceries in paper sacks Aug. 3, 2009, at the M Street Grocery in Seattle. After Seattle officials passed a 20-cent tax on each paper or plastic grocery bag, the nation's first, the plastic industry poured nearly $1.4 million to defeat the measure. Opponents of the bag tax have outspent supporters about 16 to 1 to sway Seattle's famously green voters to reject the bag tax during the Aug. 18 primary. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – Santa Fe shoppers will be regretting not bringing their own bag to the grocery store this summer after the City Council approved a 10-cent fee for paper bags.

The Council voted 7-2 Wednesday to approve the fee after the ban on plastic grocery bags did not motivate enough people to bring their own reusable totes. The amendment to the city’s shopping-bag ordinance will go into effect in 60 days.

When the plastic-bag ban initially included a fee, the City Attorney called it an impermissible tax. The Council now calls it an “environmental service fee.”

Retailers will keep one penny of the bag fee and give the remaining 9 cents to the city. The money will be used for environmental education programs.

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