Many of you have been following what the City of Tempe has been doing with its plastic bag ordinance; now, unfortunately, the legislature is trying to usurp local control and pass a bill, SB1241, that would prevent cities like Tempe from making their own decisions about issues such as a plastic bag ordinance.
The State Senate is voting on SB1241 TODAY, and we need you to contact your senator and tell him/her to vote NO on the bill. Contact information is below:
LD 18: Senator Jeff Dial: (602) 926-5550 or email@example.com
LD 20: Senator Kimberly Yee: (602) 926-3024 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LD 25: Senator Bob Worsley: (602) 926-5760 or email@example.com
LD 27: Senator Catherine Miranda: (602) 926-4893 or firstname.lastname@example.org
LD 28: Senator Adam Driggs: (602) 926-3016 or email@example.com
Below are some talking points and information from Tempe City Councilmember Lauren Kuby:
The Tempe City Council has been exploring the options of a plastic bag ordinance that would address the environmental, economic, and health impacts that this waste stream creates. Our working group has been meeting with students from ASU's School of Sustainability, local businesses, and community stakeholders to research the issue and recommend the optimal solution for Tempe.
SB1241 would block cities, towns, and counties from enacting local ordinances that ban the use of plastic bags, Styrofoam, and other commodities. This ill-considered bill restricts a city's ability to reduce waste, lower costs, and divert material from the landfill. It undermines local control of waste management, a responsibility that has historically belonged to cities and towns, which pay for these services. And it is a slap in the face of Tempe residents who overwhelmingly favor sustainable solutions that benefit the environment and the City's bottom line.
Like most cities, Tempe has a plastic bag problem. We use over 50 million single-use bags, and less than 5 percent are properly recycled. Many of those bags are mistakenly placed in curbside bins where they damage equipment at the recycling plant. Bags that are not recycled end up in the landfill or littering our parks, streets, and waterways. Cleaning up all that litter creates more work for our maintenance crews and adds costs for taxpayers. With the right ordinance, we can fix these problems.
Cities across the country are adopting plastic bag restrictions with great success. Retailers in San Francisco expect to save $3M in one year by reducing their purchases of single-use bags. Los Angeles County is experiencing an economic boost as local companies emerge to meet reusable bag demand. In Arizona, Bisbee became the first town to enact a plastic bag ban, and Tucson and Flagstaff are considering similar bans.
The City of Tempe is in the early stages of considering a plastic bag ordinance, researching best practices and meeting with stakeholders to get feedback on what will work best for our businesses and residents. We are confident the working group will identify a solution that works for local retailers, residents, and helps us meet our goal to become a more sustainable city. But if SB1241 becomes law, this conversation will be stifled.
SB1241 is poor public policy. It is a strong-arm approach that directly impacts a city's ability to represent the will of its residents. That approach isn't good for Arizonans, the environment, or the economy.